Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum announced Friday that an Alabama woman is in custody after she solicited an undercover investigator online, offering to facilitate a sexual encounter with a seven-year old child.
Former teacher Melissa B. Gray was taken into custody earlier this week by Alabama authorities and will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Mobile, Alabama.
The arrest was made late Tuesday night by law enforcement with the Attorney General’s CyberCrime Unit, the Alabama Bureau of Investigation (ABI), and the police departments for Mobile and Saraland, Alabama.
“I have no doubt a child is safe today because of the CyberCrime Unit and their colleagues. This would not have been possible without our statewide presence,” said Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum. “These men and women are truly on the front lines fighting for our children, and I could not be more proud of them.”
On Tuesday, CyberCrime Unit investigators arrested Milton resident Jonathon Bervig on four counts of possession of child pornography. Bervig was booked into the Santa Rosa County Jail and was subsequently interviewed by law enforcement. Information obtained during the interview and evidence recovered from the execution of the search warrant revealed Gray’s identity as someone involved in the distribution of child pornography.
A CyberCrime investigator then went online, posing as Bervig, and was contacted by Gray.
Gray proceeded to send “Bervig” multiple images of child pornography and invited him to come to her home to sexually molest a seven-year old child."
Investigators contacted ABI, which serves as the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force coordinating agency, and, with the help of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, a federal search warrant was executed at Gray’s Saraland residence. When agents arrived at Gray's residence to execute the search warrant, Gray’s young son was also in the home and was taken into protective custody.
Law enforcement seized two computers and other digital media devices that will be submitted for forensic evaluation. Gray was arrested and has been federally charged with one count of distribution of child pornography; additional charges could be added at a later date.
This investigation began as part of the National ICAC Task Force's