NCDOT worker accused of sending inappropriate messages, photos to 11-year-old

by: Ken Lemon Updated:

LINCOLN COUNTY, N.C. —

Lincoln County detectives arrested a Statesville man Wednesday afternoon on child sex offense charges after they said he sent inappropriate messages and photos to an 11-year-old girl.

Detectives arrested Erik Paul Collins, 42, on one felony count each of indecent liberties with a child and disseminating obscenity to minors under the age of 13 years.

Collins shook his head "no" as the prosecutor read the charges against him in court Thursday.

Collins is accused of sending inappropriate messages and photos to an 11 year old female. Investigators said Collins was known by the family of the victim and that the incidents occurred this month.

Investigators could not give many details, because the case involves a minor, but they say they have no doubt that Collins took lewd pictures of himself, then sent them and obscene text messages to an eleven year old girl on Facebook.

“If we weren't sure it was him, we wouldn't have arrested him,” said Lt. Tim Johnson with Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators said the 11-year-old's family knew Collins.

Collins is a national guardsman trained to help families in need.

He also worked as a heavy machine operator for the North Carolina Department of Transportation in Salisbury.

Her parents knew the girl and Collins connected on Facebook, but didn't know he was communicating regularly with her for a few days.

Johnson: "communication was made in a way that no adult should be making them with a juvenile,” Johnson said.

Investigators said girl's family found the inappropriate texts and pictures and contacted them.

“You just never know who you can trust,” Johnson said.

Investigators said there are no other accusers, but parents need to be concerned.

“Parents need to be vigilant in checking their children's accounts, checking their phones,” Johnson said.

Collins was processed into the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center under a $125,000 secured bond.

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