LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — A Rogersville man is facing multiple charges in two counties after he had sexually charged conversations with an investigator he believed was a 13-year-old girl, according to authorities.
Investigator Macy Hughes with the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) told News 19 that Thomas Andrew Word, 26, was charged with two counts of possession of child pornography in Lauderdale County and has a warrant with the Opelika Police Department (OPD).
Hughes said she was contacted by an investigator with OPD in March, who told her they had been talking with Word undercover on a social media app after the Rogersville resident initiated the conversation, under the assumption he was talking to an underage girl.
That conversation began in February. The Opelika Investigator, through a series of questions and a little bit of digging on Word’s Facebook profile, was able to figure out that Word lived in Rogersville and traced him to a house there.
Word is accused of sending nude pictures and videos to the undercover account, along with instructing the fake 13-year-old girl to use inanimate objects on herself. He also talked about picking her up from school to have her perform oral sex on him, the deposition said.
At 8 a.m. on March 9, LCSO Investigator Hughes carried out a search warrant at Word’s Rogersville address for all electronic devices. When she and LCSO Sgt. Keeton arrived at the Highway 207 home, they explained the situation to Word and his parents.
Hughes read the 26-year-old his rights, which he waived, “wishing to speak to me,” the investigator wrote. After telling him about the allegations of talking to a minor, Hughes wrote that Word “stated that he did talk to her.”
It was then Word’s parents intervened, telling him not to say anything else and to get a lawyer. According to the court record, Word then said he “no longer wanted to speak.”
Investigator Hughes explained to Word he had a warrant out of Opelika for transmitting obscene material to a child, adding that they would extradite. Word was then handcuffed and taken to the Lauderdale County Detention Center without incident.
Below are details from Hughes’ and Keeton’s findings while executing the search warrant:
We seized a black Samsung cell phone in a black case, plugged into a charger on the night stand beside Mr. Word’s bed. We also seized a black Samsung cell phone in a black and green case, a white Samsung phone with a busted front screen, an SD card, and a white Samsung tablet located in the top drawer on the night stand beside Mr. Words bed.
Also, documentation photos were taken of several sexual novelty toys in Mr. Word’s bedroom.Investigator Macy Hughes Lauderdale Co. Court Deposition
Hughes also detailed that those devices were forensically analyzed and led to the discovery of a pornographic photo of a female child under the age of 12, along with a video of a teen boy being intimate with an adult female. Those findings, Hughes said, led to Word’s charges.
After being booked into the Lauderdale facility, Word was released the same day on a $75,000 bond.
He was then extradited to Opelika, where he was charged with electronic solicitation of a minor, and transmitting obscene material to a minor. Word was booked into the Lee County Jail but released that same day on a $30,000 bond.
Court documents show a first-call hearing has been scheduled for May 8 at the Lauderdale County Courthouse under Judge Carole C. Medley.