Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Suburban Sex Slaves: Six Shocking Cases

Rhonda Bays and Tanner Stickney

He was in Washington D.C. She was in Eustis, Fla. They were a match made in Internet dating heaven, trading sexy texts and online messages. Except that their relationship wasn't necessarily about each other, police allege. In their online chats, Tanner Stickney and Rhonda Bays weren't writing sweet nothings about themselves. Instead, they were negotiating sex for money — sex between Stickney and a child — Bay's four-year-old male relative.

Purportedly an item, Bays and Stickney were on again and off again, but the weekend of May 15, 2009, they were definitely back on and all the arrangements were made for Stickney to visit Bays, when she contacted him and told him she might have to take a rain check because she was supposed to be travelling to Miami with her sister that weekend.

Tanner Stickney and Rhonda Bays
Tanner Stickney and Rhonda Bays

Stickney convinced her to carry out their plan, even though she warned him that "PP," the nickname she gave the four-year-old in her care, would not be there. Instead, she offered a replacement, "but he's only 2." She continued, "You can pretty much do as you wish. Nothing harmful tho. You could try and let him suck on you," she texted an F.B.I. agent who was posing as Stickney and using Stickney's phone, suggesting that the child could be on the bed while she and Stickney had sex.

The couple had more fantasies involving children. According to the Palm Beach Post, Bays and Stickney had toyed with the idea of adopting a child, purely for sexual purposes. Court documents reportedly contained transcripts between Bays and Stickney discussing the plan. Bays asked him: "how young is too young?" and suggested that they could adopt children "nobody wants," and use them as "sex slaves," suggesting that a child around six-years old would be ideal because he wouldn't be able to "give too many details on looks like an older one can."

Stickney never got to Bays' house. He was arrested as he got off the plane at Orlando International Airport, thanks to some fleet-footed F.B.I. and undercover police work.

The F.B.I. found Tanner Stickney through another pedophile they had captured. After nabbing that suspect for child porn, the confidential source told the undercover officer that he'd been communicating in an online chat room about a friend, Tanner Stickney and that the two had previously had a mutual masturbation session while sharing child pornography. He said that Stickney's videos included everything from infants to 12-year olds. The confidential source told the undercover officer that Stickney was planning a visit the next weekend to a four year old boy that he'd already been with once before. After officers posing as the informant in the chat room confirmed the plan by chatting with Stickney, they pulled his flight information and arrested him as he deplaned in Fla.

Frank Lombard
Frank Lombard

Once Stickney was arrested, police turned their attention to his girlfriend. Using Stickney's cell phone, police posing as Stickney texted with her and were able to confirm not only that she planned on offering the four-year-old boy to Stickney, but that when the four-year-old wasn't available, she would offer the two-year old. The treasure trove of child porn seized from Stickney's house, his computer and his person seemed to seal Stickney's fate, but he was able to enter into a plea bargain for turning in another alleged child molester, Frank Lombard, in exchange for a 15-year sentence. Bay was arrested outside her home and charged with producing child pornography and conspiring with another to travel for the purpose of sex with a minor. She pleaded guilty and faces up to 30 years in prison.

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