A Mineral man has been charged for allegedly molesting and sending sexual text messages to an 11-year-old.
Justin W. Trowbridge was arrested on March 1 after the victim’s mother found a text message conversation on the victim’s phone from Feb. 27, in which Trowbridge and the victim discussed a physical sexual encounter.
“They are, to say the least, disturbing,” said Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher of the text messages at Trowbridge’s preliminary hearing on March 2.
When questioned by police, Trowbridge allegedly admitted to talking about sex with the victim and denied any physical contact with the victim “other than cuddling,” according to the affidavit of probable cause filed in Lewis County Superior Court.
Trowbridge faces one count each of first-degree child molestation, a Class A felony that carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a $50,000 fine, and communication with a minor for immoral purposes, a gross misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of 364 days imprisonment, a $5,000 fine and a requirement to register as a sex offender.
Meagher requested that Judge Joely A. O’Rourke set Trowbridge’s bail at $250,000, citing concerns about public safety.
“This type of behavior is concerning because, seemingly, it has no limits,” he said.
O’Rourke agreed and set Trowbridge’s bail at $250,000, with the additional provisions that he have no contact with children and that he stay away from areas where minors congregate should he be released.
“I am very concerned here for community safety, specifically the safety of this alleged young victim and the safety of other children in the community,” said O’Rourke. “I understand that (the bail amount) is on the higher end, but I think it’s warranted here given the facts.”
Trowbridge was in the Lewis County Jail as of press time Wednesday afternoon, and his next court appearance is an arraignment hearing scheduled on March 4.