I.F. man arrested in online sex sting allegedly told undercover cop ‘age is just a number’
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IDAHO FALLS — An Idaho Falls man is accused of trying to entice a 14-year-old girl over the internet to have sex with him.
But Allen C. Eckman, 28, wasn’t actually messaging with a teen. He was talking to an undercover officer with the Idaho Falls Police Department.
Eckman, 28, is now charged with felony enticing a child over the internet. According to an affidavit of probable cause obtained by EastIdahoNews.com, Eckman began talking with undercover detectives in December on the messaging app Kik.
Up until June 4, officers initially ignored many of Eckman’s messages or responded with one-word answers. But on that day, a detective was monitoring the undercover account when Eckman reportedly asked to text with the supposed teen. Eckman said he was looking for someone to talk with, hang out and have sex with, according to court documents.
The detective responded they were 14 years old and Eckman responded he was 26.
“For me, age is just a number,” Eckman messaged on the app, according to court documents. “As long as everyone agrees and understands what is happening, no issue. 14 is old enough to make choices.”
The conversation became sexual again later this month. Eckman allegedly told an undercover detective he wanted to meet up for sex. Eckman also asked several times for the supposed 14-year-old girl to send nude photos and explained the sexual activities he wanted to have.
During the chat, the undercover officer agreed to meet with Eckman on Thursday around 10:30 p.m. at an address in Idaho Falls. In order to make sure he was not meeting with a police officer, Eckman reportedly asked the supposed 14-year-old to flash her breast through the window when he knocked on the door.
Investigators report Eckman showed up outside the address around 10:20 p.m. Thursday in his car. Investigators saw Eckmen on his phone as he messaged he was parked outside.
Idaho Falls Police officers and undercover Bonneville County Sheriff’s deputies approached Eckman who said twice he was there to purchase Pokémon cards from a girl he met on the internet.
Eckman was then taken to the police station for an interview.
During the interview, Eckman then admitted he thought he was talking to a 14-year-old girl and had agreed to meet up with the girl for sex. However, Eckman told investigations he showed up Thursday night to scare the girl and tell her what she was doing was dangerous, according to court documents.
Eckman was booked into the Bonneville County Jail and is expected to make his initial court appearance Friday afternoon. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on July 7.
Although Eckman is accused of a crime, it does not necessarily mean he committed it. Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
“The Idaho Falls Police Department would like to encourage parents to have conversations with their children early and often about the dangers associated with internet use and social media,” the Idaho Falls Police Department said in a news release. “Parents should stay in touch with what their children are doing online including what social media platforms they are using, the photos and personal information they share, and who they are in contact with. Child/teens should never accept friend requests or respond to messages from people they do not know personally, and should never arrange to meet strangers for any purpose. The dangers of social media are very real and should not be overlooked.”