A carnival worker and his girlfriend have been accused of sending sexually explicit photos and text messages to a 16-year-old high school student.
James West, 25, of Evergreen Park, and his girlfriend, Lauren Papiez, 20, of Oak Lawn were charged with one count each of indecent solicitation of a child, a Class 2 felony punishable by up to seven years in prison.
The two were arrested on Sept. 16. West was taken into custody at , where he was operating rides for Spectacular Midway Amusement.
Police said the girl believes West got her phone number off of Facebook. She also told police her birth date is on her Facebook page and that West knows she is 16.
A teacher at the school discovered the explicit text messages on the student’s phone after the teacher confiscated it when the girl violated the school’s cell phone policy, reports said.
The girl was sent to the school dean, who contacted the girl’s mother. Both went to to talk to detectives.
Police said the girl met West at in August. On Sept. 4, the girl ran into West at Toyota Park, where he was operating carnival rides. The next day she went back with a friend to Toyota Park, where police said she and West had a quick conversation.
Several weeks later, police reports state, West sent a photo of his penis to the girl’s cell phone. West followed up the photo with a text message and encouraged the girl to send him a picture of himself.
When she sent him a photo of herself with her clothes on, West texted back, “that’s not what I mean.” The report said she then sent him a nude photo of herself. The girl told police that she took the picture in her bedroom.
According to the report, the girl asked West to stop texting her two or three times. Police said West sent the girl several nude photos of himself, as well as picture of himself having sex with his girlfriend.
The week of the fall carnival, police said West and his girlfriend, Papiez, discussed having a threesome with the girl. On Sept. 14, the girl left school and met West at a gas station. He picked her up and drove her to his girlfriend’s apartment in Oak Lawn, police said.
After hanging out a while, the girl told the couple she had to get back to the school. The couple dropped her off at the high school. The girl said nothing sexual happened at Papiez’s apartment or in the car on the way back to school, reports state.
The girl went to the high school carnival with some friends around 5 p.m. Sept. 15. Police said West grabbed the girl’s arm when they saw each other at the carnival and told her to come with him. She ignored his texts and did not see him for the rest of the day, police said.
The girl told police that West asked her once to delete all the pictures and texts they had sent to each other. He also threatened to have the girl arrested for trespassing, reports said.
She was able to identify West from a photo lineup, police said. West was taken into custody at the high school carnival and brought to the station.
West and his girlfriend were both charged on Sept. 19. No further court information was available.