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Police officer to plead to child-predator charges

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

A former Clayton County police officer plans to plead guilty to federal charges he used the Internet to entice a child to have sex.

Casey Carmichael, a 28-year-old, who was employed by the police department for a year and a half before he was arrested, has a change-of-plea hearing scheduled for Aug. 11.

On Tuesday, his attorney, Michael J. Trost, confirmed that Carmichael will be pleading guilty.

Carmichael was arrested while on-duty, on Sept. 16. He allegedly was carrying on extended, explicit, sexual conversations with what he believed to be an underaged girl.

According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Carmichael engaged in lewd acts in front of a web cam, on a department-issued laptop, while wearing his uniform.

The arrest came after an Internet crimes investigator in Mississippi, posing undercover as a young girl in an online chat room, reported an officer was talking about sex acts online with a decoy-child.

In similar investigations, the standard procedure seems to be to keep the online conversation going until the alleged, would-be child predator travels across state lines in an attempt to meet the "child victim." Law enforcement officers are usually waiting to make an arrest. That tactic substantially increases the applicable federal charges.

In Carmichael's case, however, the investigation lasted only a few weeks, and he was arrested at the department headquarters on charges that could result in a maximum, possible sentence of 10 years in prison.

Department of Justice Spokesman Patrick Crosby declined to comment on the case and any possible plea arrangements.

Carmichael passed a psychological examination and a background check before joining the police department, and there were no complaints lodged against him regarding the Internet or children, during his time there.

At the time of his arrest, Police Chief Jeff Turner said Carmichael had appeared to be an "average officer," with "nothing out of the ordinary."

Turner said he spoke to Carmichael at the time of the arrest and told him he was disappointed and appalled. "I told him, 'You are not above the law.'"