Crime & Courts

Man charged with soliciting a minor for sex

A registered sex offender was arrested this week while waiting to meet with an under-age teen for sexual activities that had been arranged on a social networking site, Caldwell County authorities said.

Samuel Henry Vinci Jr., 54, of Granite Falls, was taken into custody Tuesday, deputies said. He was charged with solicitation by computer of a minor to commit an unlawful sex act and appear at a meeting location; failure to register an online identifier; providing false information during address verification; and violation of the social networking ban by a sex offender.

He was jailed under $250,000 bond, deputies said.

Vinci was released from prison in February 2009 after serving time for a pair of second-degree rape convictions in 1998 in Rutherford County, according to prison records. Investigators said Vinci was placed on the North Carolina Sex Offender Registry at the time of his release.

Authorities accuse Vinci of contacting an under-age minor over a social networking site recently and arranging to meet that person for sexual activities.

Caldwell County Sheriff Alan Jones said the case is a reminder for parents.

“I encourage parents to be proactive to ensure the safety of their children, by monitoring the child’s Internet and social networking activities,” Jones said.

He said parents should know the passwords to their children’s email and social media accounts and review them regularly. He also suggested parents regularly review the content stored on children’s cellphones and personal computers, and limit the amount of personal information children list on their social networking accounts.