DANVERS — A truck driver from Danvers has been charged with trying to lure a 15-year-old Newburyport-area boy he met online to meet him for sex last summer.
Barry Isgur, 52, of 30 Berry St., Apt. 3R, pleaded not guilty during his arraignment yesterday in Salem District Court to a charge of child enticement.
Police and prosecutors say Isgur was using the social networking site “Skout” to interact with the boy, who appeared to have no idea that Isgur was a middle-aged man.
Over a two-day period in July, Isgur, using a Gmail account that incorporated his last name, and the boy exchanged a series of messages discussing the possibility of a meeting. At one point, the boy suggested that his parents could give him a ride to meet Isgur, according to the report by Trooper James Dowling. Isgur responded by telling him, “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
The two then went on to discuss the possibility of meeting at the boy’s school.
The online chat abruptly concluded with a message, apparently from a parent of the boy, warning, “Go away. Stop talking to my child.”
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received information about the exchange and passed it along to state police. Dowling, a detective assigned to the district attorney’s office, conducted an investigation, including seizing Isgur’s computer with a search warrant. The trooper also called Isgur on the phone number he had given to the child.
Isgur admitted that he knew he was chatting with a 15-year-old boy about meeting for sex, “but he wasn’t serious” and claimed to have no intention of following through.
Prosecutor Jane Prince urged a Salem District Court judge yesterday to set high bail for Isgur, as well as to issue an order barring him from any contact with children.
Isgur’s lawyer, Geoffrey Nathan, said his client has taken a leave of absence from his job “to enable him to address the issues that bring him to court.” Nathan handed the judge a letter from a mental health therapist reporting that Isgur is receiving treatment.
He asked for a lower bail, pointing to family members in the courtroom who were prepared to post $2,000 yesterday.
“He never met the child,” Nathan pleaded.
Judge Michael Lauranzano set the bail at $2,500 cash, with conditions that include a GPS bracelet to track Isgur’s whereabouts, an order that he stay away from the boy and all children under 18, that he sign a waiver allowing probation officers to check on whether he is still in treatment, and that until the GPS is set up, he must remain confined to his home.
The judge also ordered him not to use a computer or go online.
Family members who were present for yesterday’s arraignment posted his bail shortly after Isgur was taken into custody in the courtroom. He is due back in court on Dec. 13 for a probable cause hearing.
According to reports in The New York Times and Forbes last June, Skout, which uses the slogan “Flirt, Friend, Chat,” had created a separate teen area of the site last year after receiving reports of at least three sexual assaults of teenagers by older users posing as their peers. The site has since banned all minors.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.