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Dave Roepke, Published November 20 2010

Sex offender accused of luring teen

A 49-year-old sex offender was arrested on Thursday, accused of sending naked photos to a 16-year-old girl via text message and asking her to send him nude photos as well.

Eugene Winford Hinson Jr. faces a charge of luring a minor by computer, a Class C felony punishable upon conviction by at least one year in prison and up to five years.

Hinson allegedly sent 12 photos from his cell phone, most of them lewd photographs of his own body, according to police reports filed with the charge in Cass County District Court on Friday.

West Fargo police began the investigation, as the 16-year-old lives there, but it was turned over to Fargo police when a sex offender living there emerged as the suspect, court records say.

The girl told West Fargo officers she’d met Hinson through an acquaintance, said Fargo police Sgt. Mark Lykken in a news release.

A Fargo police detective began texting Hinson from a different phone, pretending tobe the West Fargo girl. Police allege Hinson agreed to meet what he thought was the 16-year-old at Kmart in south Fargo.

When police arrived at the store at about 2:40 p.m. Thursday, Hinson was arrested and his phone was seized. He is being held on bail of $50,000 in the Cass County Jail.

Hinson is a Level II, or moderate-risk, sex offender who was convicted in 1999 in Florida of sexually assaulting three girls he knew under the age of 15.

Lt. Pat Claus said Hinson had listed the campground at Fargo’s Lindenwood Park as his most recent address but had been living in a tent outside the park on the bank of the Red River since the campground closed for the season in mid-October.

Claus said he wasn’t on probation, so there were no restrictions on where Hinson could live. Police did have regular phone contact with him but will follow up to make sure he was living where he said he was.

“We’ll investigate that,” Claus said.

It’s a crime for registered sex offenders to not notify police of a new address within 72 hours of moving.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Roepke at (701) 241-5535