Bond denied for Bibb deputy charged with enticement of a child

Bond has been denied for a Bibb County sheriff’s deputy arrested last week on charges he used a computer to entice a 7-year-old girl for sex.

Gregory Todd Bowden, 42, of Byron, is accused of communicating with a person he believed was the girl’s mother and making plans to travel to Atlanta so he could have sex with the mother and the child, according to the FBI and federal court records.

An affidavit filed in federal court reveals Bowden was talking with a female agent assigned to the FBI’s Innocent Images Task Force’s Cybercrime Squad who posed as a 30-year-old single mother.

Bowden has been held in federal custody without bond since his arrest.

At a bond hearing Wednesday in Atlanta, Bowden’s attorney argued that Bowden should be released on bond on the condition that he stay with his parents until trial, said Patrick Crosby, a U.S. Justice Department spokesman.

Another condition of release proposed by the defense included Bowden voluntarily not using a computer, Crosby said.

But the prosecution opposed the conditions, Crosby said.

“The government argued that he is a danger to the entire community,” he said.

The judge denied the defense attorney’s request, Crosby said.

If convicted, Bowden faces between 10 years in prison and a life sentence, he said.

Messages left for Bowden’s attorney, Franklin J. Hogue, were not returned Wednesday afternoon. When interviewed by the FBI following his arrest, Bowden admitted he was in the Atlanta area to meet a woman, but said he thought he was coming to have sex with a woman who would pretend to be 7 years old, according to the affidavit.

He said he had never traveled to meet anyone else he met online, but has talked to people online about the subject of sex with children for about the past two years, according to the affidavit.

Bibb County Sheriff Jerry Modena said Bowden is suspended from his job with pay pending an indictment.

Bowden’s conversations with the undercover agent began on Oct. 23, 2008, when Bowden sent an unsolicited instant message to the agent, referred to as “Tiff” in an Internet chat room, according to the affidavit.

In their first conversation, Bowden inquired whether Tiff’s daughter was sexually active and admitted to having sex with a 15-year-old, according to the court records.

The conversations resumed in early February after Tiff, the undercover agent, contacted Bowden by e-mail and inquired why she had not seen him online. In a Feb. 4, 2009, chat room conversation, Bowden suggested that he meet the mother and her daughter near Atlanta, according to the affidavit.

He also e-mailed a photo of a man’s genitalia and the undercover agent responded by sending a photo of a woman and a girl, which she said were of herself and her daughter, according to the affidavit.

Feb. 5, Bowden sent other pictures, one showed a man with blond hair and glasses while the other was a picture of a man’s genitalia, according to the court records.

That afternoon, the undercover agent called a phone number Bowden had provided. During the conversation they agreed to meet, along with the 7-year-old girl, in Sandy Springs on Feb. 11, according to the affidavit.

Feb. 10, Bowden sent the undercover agent a Yahoo instant message and asked her to promise she was not affiliated with law enforcement. The agent reassured Bowden and told him the meeting was risky for her, according to the affidavit. The Georgia Department of Driver Services provided authorities with a driver’s license photo of Bowden on Feb. 10 that bears a close likeness to the photo he allegedly sent the undercover agent, according to the affidavit.

Bowden called the agent a final time at about 8:45 a.m. Feb. 11 and said he would arrive at about 10:30 a.m. He discussed meeting with the undercover agent and her daughter once or twice a month in the future — perhaps more often during the summer, according to the affidavit.

Authorities arrested Bowden as he pulled into a parking spot at the agreed meeting place.

Interviewed by the FBI about an hour later, Bowden told agents that he is married and has a 5-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son, according to court records.

He admitted he used screen names during chats with the undercover agent and that he frequents the chat room. He said he likes to role play about family sex and other taboo subjects, according to the affidavit. Bowden has been a Bibb County deputy since Nov. 19, 2001. During his employment, he spent most of his time assigned to the jail and dispatch office. Bowden was transferred to patrol duty Jan. 3, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.

Modena has said before applicants are hired to work as a sheriff’s deputy, they undergo a background check and a psychological evaluation. He said there were no signs that anything was amiss before Bowden’s arrest.

Bowden also worked in the Bibb County District Attorney’s Office as a victim’s advocate from 1996 to 2001.