Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - On August 15, 2023, the Missoula County Attorney’s Office announced that a jury convicted 34-year-old Jose Chavez of two felony counts of sexual abuse of children, criminal possession of dangerous drugs, and possession of drug paraphernalia. 

During an undercover operation led by the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office, Chavez made contact on a social media platform with someone he believed was 16 years old, a minor. During the conversation, Chavez made several comments indicating he wanted to engage in explicit sexual activities with the minor, who was actually an undercover officer. 

At one point, Chavez arranged to meet the minor at a specific location in Missoula. On Sept. 22, 2022, Chavez arrived and was taken into custody without incident by members of the Missoula County Human Trafficking Task Force. Methamphetamine and a syringe were found on his person. Chavez is scheduled to be sentenced at 9 a.m. Friday, October 27, in Missoula County District Court. 

Get our free mobile app

According to Chief Deputy County Attorney Matt Jennings, Deputy County Attorneys Brielle Lande and Lauren Sandau prosecuted the case. 

“I really want to give them a pat on the back and also recognize our Sheriff's Department for the work they’ve been doing to track this online behavior, identify these dangerous offenders in our community, and prioritize this type of stuff over almost anything else to make sure the children in our community are safe,” Jennings said. “I did want to take an opportunity to just remind parents that are listening out there to really engage in some of this stuff. Make sure you know what your kids are doing online. Talk to them about appropriate conduct on social media. There's a lot of bad stuff that's happening on the internet and that's how some of these predators are using tools to try and engage with children.” 

The Missoula County Attorney’s Office said parents may also consider the following: 

  • Become educated about the websites, software, games, and apps that their children use.
  • Use parental tools to restrict access to certain sites and monitor online usage.
  • Have open conversations about what is appropriate to share or say online.
  • Make sure children use privacy settings to restrict access to their online profiles.
  • Explain that children should be wary of communicating with anyone online that they do not know in real life.

Parents, friends, and family are encouraged to report any inappropriate contact between an adult and a child to law enforcement immediately. 

LOOK: What major laws were passed the year you were born?

Data for this list was acquired from trusted online sources and news outlets. Read on to discover what major law was passed the year you were born and learn its name, the vote count (where relevant), and its impact and significance.

More From Newstalk KGVO 1290 AM & 98.3 FM