A 29-year-old Battle Creek man is behind bars after attempting to meet with a 14-year-old for sex.

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The Calhoun County Sheriff's Office announced an arrest had been made during human trafficking operation looking for those targeting children online.

The effort involved deputies and detectives with the Calhoun County Sheriff's Office as well as the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office Genesee Human Oppression Strike Team (GHOST).

The sheriff's office says that on December 6, 2021, Calhoun County deputies and members of GHOST began monitoring communication on several social media sights. The focus was on areas where individuals were attempting to arrange sex with children.

A 29-year-old Battle Creek man began chatting with what he believed was a 14-year-old girl. The 29-year-old suspect, formerly of Kalamazoo, traveled to Marshall to meet the 14-year-old and have sex with her. In reality, he was communicating with a Calhoun County Sheriff's deputy. The man was immediately taken into custody.

The suspect is identified as Robert Gray, according to a release from the Calhoun County Sheriff's Office. The sheriff's office says Gray had been in prison until being released on October 17, 2021.

Gray's previous charges include; Criminal Sexual Conduct 2nd Degree with Person Under 13 Years of Age, Home Invasion 2nd Degree, and Prisoner Possessing Weapons.

Gray was taken to the Calhoun County Jail for Soliciting a Minor for Immoral Purposes and Using a Computer to Commit a Crime. Gray is alleged to have told sheriff’s detectives that he utilizes social media platforms to set up sexual encounters at least once a week.

The Calhoun County Sheriff's Office said in the release that this should be a clear reminder to monitor and discuss social media interactions with the children in our lives. If you think your child is being groomed through social media for sex or human trafficking, you should call your local police department immediately.

They recommend looking at phones and computers used by your child look at what apps they are using and what conversations are going on, pointing out that children are naïve and don’t understand the dangers that are lurking.

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