As the result of information provided by the Alliance Against Childhood Exploitation (ACE), an online group focused on exposing child predators, Branson Police have arrested two people for two separate incidents of trying to solicit minors online.
ACE contacted Branson Police and provided preliminary information regarding possible criminal contact between two adult male suspects and alleged 14 and 15-year old females. After reviewing the information, Branson Police coordinated with the Taney County Prosecutors Office and launched investigations into the online-only contact. Police were able to establish probable cause and arrested both without incident.
Police arrested 32-year old Rafael Ramos on March 2, 2022. He is charged with Felony Sexual Trafficking of a Child- 2nd Degree, which carries a punishment of not less than 10 years or life imprisonment and a fine not to exceed $250,000, and Furnishing Pornographic Material or Attempt to Furnish to a Minor (Class E Felony).
On March 3, 2022, Branson Police also arrested 27-year old Paul Thornton III. He is charged with Felony Enticement of a Child, which is punishable by no less than five years imprisonment with no option of probation, parole or suspended imposition.
Both Ramos and Thornton are being held in the Taney County Jail. Police believe the two incidents are unrelated and don’t believe the suspects knew each other.
“Please talk with your kids, especially teens, about phone and internet safety. Start the dialogue and make sure you check and double check all safety precautions and settings for devices and apps,” said Branson Police Chief Jeff Matthews.
The Branson Police Department would like to thank the members of ACE and the Taney County Prosecutors Office for their assistance in these investigations. For more information on how to PROTECT YOUR KIDS ONLINE, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website, Consumer.FTC.GOV.