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INS Officer Accused in Web Sex Case

January 21, 2001

NEWTOWN, Pa. (AP) _ An armed immigration officer who used the Internet to solicit a sexual encounter with a 15-year-old girl was arrested on his way to meet her, officials said.

``When he was stopped, he had handcuffs, a gun, three clips and a badge,″ Bucks County District Attorney Diane Gibbons said. ``So, fortunately, this was all interrupted before anybody could be very seriously injured.″

Brandon J. Clifford, 27, of Sackets Harbor, N.Y., declined to speak to reporters at his arraignment Friday. He was charged with corruption of a minor and indecent assault, among other offenses, and held on $500,000 bail.

Gibbons said Clifford met the girl in an online chat room and told her he was 17. After he sent a picture of himself, Gibbons said, the girl became suspicious and told her father, who went to police.

Police then assumed the girl’s identity and arranged for Clifford to meet her at her junior high school in suburban Philadelphia. He was arrested upon arrival.

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