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Police: Hope Mills veteran used Craigslist to set up sex with autistic child

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William Jerry Faulkner, Jr., 47, of Red Oak Drive in Hope Mills was taken in to custody around 1:30 p.m. Friday. William Jerry Faulkner, Jr., 47, of Red Oak Drive in Hope Mills was taken in to custody around 1:30 p.m. Friday.
Faulkner had been communicating with Sheriff's Office detectives for the past several weeks, who were investigating the matter. Faulkner had been communicating with Sheriff's Office detectives for the past several weeks, who were investigating the matter.
HOPE MILLS, N.C. -

Cumberland County Sheriff's Detectives have arrested a local businessman and charged him with attempting to arrange a meeting, for the purpose of having sex, with an autistic child.

William Jerry Faulkner, Jr., 47, of Red Oak Drive in Hope Mills was taken in to custody around 1:30 p.m. Friday.  Faulkner is the manager of Taylor's Linden Mini-Storage in the town of Linden and is a retired military intelligence soldier, authorities said.

An investigation, which began on July 2, uncovered an illegal posting on Craigslist.com advertising for a single mother, who had a special needs person in their custody, to take the child to him in exchange for compensation.  Faulkner intended to engage his victim in inappropriate sexual behavior.

In fact, Faulkner had been communicating with Sheriff's Office detectives for the past several weeks, who were investigating the matter.

"We're trained to find people like this," said Debbie Tanna of the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office. "It took us a while, but we got him just outside Linden."

Tanna said said a mother found Faulkner's listing on Craigslist and reported it to the Sheriff's Office. In that listing, Faulkner was soliciting for a parent willing to take money in exchange for a child he could have sex with.

"It disgusts me. It's just repulsive," said Julia Jones, neighbor of Faulkner. "To know that we have all these kids around here and he's been going undetected, i hope they never let him out," she said.

The Sheriff's Office set up a meeting for Friday at a location in northern Cumberland County and arrested Faulkner.

Authorities said he has a wife and child, both of whom are handicapped.

Faulkner is the first in North Carolina to be charged under the new "Shaniya's Law," the unlawful sale, surrender, or purchase of a minor, the Sheriff's Office said.  He is also faces charges of indecent liberties with a child. The law is based on 5-year-old Shaniya Davis, who police said was given away to pay a drug debt in 2009 and later killed.

"This law clearly states that the state of North Carolina is not going to tolerate our children being traded for favors," Tanna said.

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