- Associated Press - Saturday, November 22, 2014

HURST, Texas (AP) - A Texas man accused of attempting to exploit children by having a 17-year-old pose as a 6th grade student has been transferred to federal custody.

Authorities also have established a hotline for “anyone who may have been victimized related to” the case of 28-year-old Randy Ray Wesson, according to a statement Friday from Assistant U.S. Attorney A. Saleem.

The news release does not contain attorney information for Wesson, and messages left Saturday at Saleem’s office were not immediately returned.

Investigators raided Wesson’s home in Hurst, outside Fort Worth, on Tuesday, after a lengthy investigation that grew out of a single obscene photo of a man and a boy in a sex act on Instagram. Police subsequently discovered more than 40,000 child pornography images.

According to the Dallas Morning News, Wesson’s court records say he admitted to sexually assaulting more than 100 children ages 7 to 14 and even identified dozens by name. The Fort Worth Star Telegram cites Wesson’s arrest warrant in reporting that he told police he sexually assaulted more than 100 children between the same ages.

Wesson faces federal charges of transporting and shipping child pornography. He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey L. Cureton in Fort Worth on Friday, and has a preliminary hearing set for Tuesday.

A 17-year-old runaway is accused of providing fake documents and posing as Wesson’s 12-year-old son to enroll at Hurst Hills Elementary School. The teen faces charges of possessing child pornography and was being held Saturday at Hurst City Jail.

The teen told authorities he met Wesson through Instagram and that the pair had a sexual relationship. According to the Morning News, the teen’s arrest warrant states that messages found on his phone indicate he was “recruiting possible victims from school for himself and Randy.”

In June, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children spotted an obscene Instagram photo, and police later tracked that to an IP address to a home in north Fort Worth. Authorities subsequently uncovered suspicious Internet forum posts that helped them find Wesson.

Wesson had previously been investigated in 2012, but no charges were filed. He was then working at an aquarium, where a mother complained to police that he had picked up her 4-year-old son and volunteered to babysit. Police investigated that case, but found no evidence of wrongdoing.


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