10/20/08 — SJAFB Firefighter arrested on sex charge

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SJAFB Firefighter arrested on sex charge

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on October 20, 2008 3:16 PM

An investigation that began in an Internet chat room culminated Sunday in the arrest of a Seymour Johnson Air Force Base firefighter.

Mark Floyd Farwell, 38, of Larchmont Circle, was charged with five counts of prohibited use of computer services and one count of traveling to meet a minor by the Lake County, Fla., Sheriff's Office, after allegedly showing up for an arranged sexual encounter with a woman and her 7-year-old daughter.

Investigators said the case began in January when Farwell instigated contact with undercover detectives in a Yahoo! chat room.

He believed them to be a woman and her 7-year-old daughter, officials said. Since that time, Farwell and the officers have been in frequent contact via Yahoo! messenger service and telephone.

"During these conversations, (Farwell) talked in explicit detail about having sexual contact with the mother and her 7-year-old daughter," one of the undercover officers said in the report.

The detail of those conversations was made available by Lake County officials, but was too graphic to publish by the News-Argus.

After his arrest, Farwell told investigators he never intended to go through with a sexual act.

"(Farwell) stated that he has never victimized a real child and that it is only fantasy," one of the investigators reported. "(He said) that the 'taboo' of the topic is what turns him on."

Word of Farwell's arrest reached Seymour Johnson late Monday. 4th Fighter Wing Vice Commander Daniel DeBree said members of the local Air Force Special Investigations Detachment 216 are "diligently working" with Lake County officials to "ensure due process of the law and a thorough investigation" into the allegations.

"We strongly condemn this kind of activity, and anyone who would commit such an offense is not appropriate for Air Force, military or civil service," he said. "Our specific actions will depend on the results of the investigation, but the Air Force is committed to the pursuit of justice put forth in the Constitution. Our core mission is to serve and protect the American people, for the fortification of our families and society. The behavior, if substantiated, will absolutely not be tolerated."

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