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Soldier charged with soliciting a minor online

Mar 31, 2011 9:04:00 PM - thestate.com
A 40-year-old master sergeant stationed at Fort Jackson was arrested on Wednesday and charged with solicitation of a minor, the S.C. Attorney General’s Office announced Thursday.

Mark S. Ashley of Owens Road, near Fort Jackson, was arrested on one count of criminal solicitation of a minor, a felony. He was released on $10,000 bond.

According to the arrest warrants, Ashley struck up an online relationship with a 13-year-old Missouri girl through the social networking website MySpace. They communicated online and talked on the phone starting December 16, 2010. Ashley allegedly talked about sex and repeatedly asked for nude pictures, which authorities say the unidentified girl eventually sent. Ashley, in turn, sent the pictures on to someone in New Jersey, court papers allege.

The Attorney General’s Office was contacted by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children following a tip from an unidentified woman in New Jersey.

If found guilty, Ashley could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.