Houston & Peach

Homeland Security agent posed as a 13-year-old girl; former teacher charged in sting

A former Bonaire Elementary School special education teacher has been indicted on a charge he attempted to lure through the internet a girl — who was actually an undercover cop — for sex.

Jonathan Michael Sumner, 33, of Bonaire, was indicted on charges of use of a computer service to seduce, solicit, lure or entice a child to commit an illegal act. He was also indicted on a charge of obscene internet contact with a child.

Sumner is accused of having a chat conversation with an undercover federal Homeland Security agent posing as a 13-year-old Alabama girl in which Sumner allegedly asked her to meet up and have sex, according to Houston County sheriff’s reports.

Sumner, who could not be reached for comment, also is accused of giving narrative accounts of sexual conduct either in other chats or through emails.

When Sumner was interviewed by authorities, he claimed that the chats and emails were only “fantasy” and that he just went with whatever direction they took, according to sheriff’s reports.

Sumner was still employed as a teacher when the Houston County Sheriff’s Office was contacted Sept. 5 about him by federal authorities. The Homeland Security agent began the undercover internet sting in which Sumner was caught three days earlier.

Sumner resigned the day before his arrest Sept. 8 and turned himself into authorities.

Also indicted Tuesday were four men on multiple sexual exploitation of children charges in different cases. However, the cases are similar in nature.

The men are accused of having photographs or videos of children in various sexual acts, according to sheriff’s reports. The digital images were downloaded from the internet.

Brian Moody Ansley, 21, of Perry, was indicted on 35 counts of sexual exploitation of children/possession with intent to distribute.

Brian Evans Wear, 35, of Centerville, was indicted on 40 counts of sexual exploitation of children; Ryan McCoy, 18, of Bonaire, was indicted on 11 counts of sexual exploitation of children; and Ray Foster Powers III, 27, of Warner Robins, was indicted on 20 counts of sexual exploitation of children.

Ansley, Wear, McCoy and Powers were not reached for comment.

The men were investigated by the sheriff’s office after cyber tips were received by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation Unit.

Becky Purser: 478-256-9559, @BecPurser