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Kowalkoski

Upshur man who allegedly solicited someone he thought was 14 years old arrested Monday

BUCKHANNON – An Upshur County man who allegedly solicited someone he believed to be 14 years old through Facebook Messenger was arrested Monday.

Devin M. Kowalkoski, 26, of Buckhannon, was arrested on Dec. 4 for soliciting/traveling to engage a minor in sex, a felony.

According to the criminal complaint filed in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s Office by Sgt. Marshall O’Connor with the Buckhannon Police Department, on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, a Facebook Messenger profile operated by Kowalkoski sent a message to another Facebook Messenger account that said, “Howdy.”

The conversation continued briefly before Kowalkoski asked the person how old they were. The operator of the account responded that they were 14 years old and asked Kowalkoski how old he was. Kowalkoski replied, “‘Ooof, 26,’ clearly establishing that he [knew] he was speaking to [someone] he believed to be a minor,” O’Connor wrote in the report.

Soon after, Kowalkoski began to send sexually suggestive memes to the account.

“Devin (Kowalkoski) then offers to send something spicy,” O’Connor wrote in the report.

Kowalkoski subsequently sent a video of himself performing a sexually explicit act “but then quickly unsent it” after the person operating the other profile had watched it. He also allegedly sent the account a sexually explicit photo and asked the operator of the account if they were on birth control before allegedly telling her what “his favorite sexual position” was, according to the file.

Three days later, on Monday, Dec. 4, Kowalkoski allegedly made plans to meet with the person he believed to be a 14-year-old juvenile “at an undisclosed location” in Buckhannon. The police report says that approximately two minutes after Kowalkoski was “notified” that he was invited to come over, “he was already knocking on the door.”

O’Connor noted that Kowalkoski had parked a block away to walk to the agreed-upon location.

“After inviting Devin inside, the order for the arrest was given,” the complaint states. “At this time, [Kowalkoski] was taken into custody.”

During a search of Kowalkoski’s person, police allegedly found two condoms and one Ruger 9mm pistol with a single round loaded in the chamber, according to the complaint.

Kowalkoski was transported to the Buckhannon Police Department, where he allegedly admitted that he “knew and believed” the person he had planned to meet up with was 14 years old. In addition, he allegedly confirmed the above-referenced video and photo were of him.

Upshur County Magistrate Alan Suder set bail at $75,000 cash only.

The penalty for a conviction of soliciting/traveling to engage a minor in sex is a fine of not more than $25,000, imprisonment in a state penitentiary for a determinate sentence of five to 30 years or both.

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