Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal announces that his office has arrested two Gretna men. Matthew Peter Verdin, 29, and Allen Payne, Jr., 62, both from Gretna, were arrested for Computer Aided Solicitation of a Minor.
Verdin, a part-time assistant basketball coach and student at Southeastern Louisiana University, and Payne, a retired legal assistant, committed the felonies in an undercover internet sting conducted in March of this year by the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office.
A Washington Parish deputy, posing as a 16 year old female named Madison, communicated with Verdin and Payne through internet ads, email and cell phone text. During these communications, both men indicated they wished to have sexual contact with Madison, sent indecent images of themselves and requested indecent images of Madison with specific instructions on what they wanted to be shown in the images.
Verdin and Payne were arrested at their homes in a predawn raid on June 11. Participating in the arrests were cyber crime experts from Washington and Tangipahoa Sheriff’s Offices along with the United States Marshal’s Office.
The two men were booked into the Jefferson Parish Jail as fugitives and then transported to the Washington Parish Jail. They were released on June 12 after posting $50,000 bonds.
“Anytime we have the opportunity arrest child sexual predators, we will do so. We are fortunate to have a certified cyber crimes expert on staff and he is always on the lookout for those who attempt to sexually exploit our children. I encourage all parents and guardians to make certain they know what their children are doing on the internet. While the internet is a valuable resource tool, it can also be a dangerous trap for children. Always monitor what your child is doing on the internet, on social media and through the use of cell phone texts.”