Tuesday, November 15, 2005

No Charge For Mum In Online Sex Case

Contra Costa prosecutors declined Monday to charge a woman who police said indicated in an email that she would offer her 4-year-old daughter for sex.

The District Attorney's Office sent documents back to the Martinez Police Department for further investigation of Shannon Nicole Woods, 22, who was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of offering a minor under 16 for lewd and lascivious acts .

"They want more evidence," said Sgt. Gary Peterson.

The Sheriff's Department was processing Woods on Monday night out of County Jail in Martinez.

Police say they found e-mails and online chat indicating that Woods was willing to offer her daughter. During a search of her home, they confiscated videos and a laptop, Peterson said.

"We've looked at the majority of the video, and there's nothing that supports the charges. The computer forensics are not completed," he said.

Prosecutor Dara Cashman, who was handling the case, was not available for comment Monday afternoon.

An acquaintance of Woods, who is not involved with law enforcement, recognized her photograph in an advertisement on Craigslist and contacted her posing as a potential client, police said.

In separate online conversations, Woods agreed to meet for sex. When the acquaintance offered $500 to have sex with her daughter, she didn't object to it, Peterson said.

Woods was pregnant during the investigation -- a fact that she used to advertise her services. She gave birth to a boy about a week ago, Peterson said. Both the baby and the 4-year-old are in protective custody.

The District Attorney's decision comes after Peterson had said that the chatroom dialogue makes the case difficult to prove because it is hard to show the order in which the conversations occurred.

www.contracostatimes.com

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