JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Two Johnson City attorneys are sounding the alarm in the community about a man they say has been sending them disturbing text messages. They said this type of activity could mean safety issues for the Johnson City community.
Kara Page and J.R. Cook are partners at Page & Cook Attorneys at Law. They began receiving the texts from a man several days ago.
Their contact began after the man contacted Cook’s wife, who is also an attorney. The man left a voicemail filled with lewd sexual comments. He asked her if she wanted a boyfriend, then made a comment about underage girls.
Page said after hearing about the message, she tracked down the man’s phone number through a reverse phone number search and gave him a call.
“He kept asking me if I would meet him, if I wanted to hang out,” Page said. “Ultimately he said, point blank, it’s okay if you’re under 18.”
Cook then took action himself and began texting the man, telling him he’s an underage girl, hoping to document the man’s attempted solicitation of what he thought was a minor and create evidence.
“It just spiraled and snowballed to him thinking I was a 16 year-old girl and soliciting her for sex,” Cook said.
Cook said the man has sent him multiple nude photos.
During an interview with WJHL, Page decided to send the man a text saying, “Hi,” to see if he would respond. Within seconds, Page received a response asking, “How u, what are u doing.”
A couple of texts and two minutes later, the man responds, “How old u,” asking for the age of the fictitious girl. Page says she is 16.
The man then says, “Do you want have sex,” which came as no surprise to Page and Cook.
They have reported the incident to Johnson City police, but they found out there is not much the police can do in this situation.
The Tennessee Code statute for solicitation of a minor said that the charge only applies when the offender is sending messages to a child or a police officer acting as a decoy.
Cook said he would like to see the law changed to include cases like his.
Johnson City police would not comment on this specific case, but said they do follow-up on these types of cases.
“Any citizen that thinks it’s something that’s inappropriate or not normal, they can contact us any time 24/7 to report anything that we can look into,” Detective Justin Jenkins said.
Cook offered a warning to look out for the man, who they said is known to roam around Johnson City.
He said that he has even had an in-person confrontation with the man and believes he is a danger to the community.
“You should keep a close eye on your kids because this again, could be your daughter, niece, granddaughter, friend. You need to be very careful,” Cook said.
WJHL did not include the name or picture of the man because he has not been charged with any crime.