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Sex sting leads to charges against Stafford man

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A 35-year-old Stafford man was arrested Thursday when he showed up at a North Stafford motel to have sex with what he thought was a 5-year-old girl, police said.

The arrest followed a sting operation that began Sunday after a citizen told police that the man had been expressing interest in having sex with a young child, Sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy said.
Michael Thomas Dowling of Glacier Way was charged with four counts of attempted indecent liberties with a juvenile, two counts of soliciting sodomy from a juvenile, using an electronic device to solicit a child and soliciting child pornography.
According to Kennedy, detectives Darryl Wells and Patricia Tudor set up the sting after being contacted by the citizen.
The citizen introduced Dowling online to someone described as a close female friend with a 5-year-old daughter.
Wells began communicating with Dowling online Sunday, pretending to be the woman with the 5-year-old. Dowling immediately began expressing interest in having sex with the child, Kennedy said, and also requested sexually explicit pictures.
Wells eventually convinced the suspect that he was bringing the child to the unnamed motel, and Dowling showed up for the requested encounter about 7 p.m.
Detectives were waiting and took Dowling into custody without incident. He was placed in the Rappahannock Regional Jail under no bond.