GATE CITY — A former Coeburn police officer will have to register as a sex offender after pleading guilty to sending sexually explicit messages over Facebook to a then-15-year-old girl.
Edward Shane Kiser, 28, Retford Road, Coeburn, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Scott County Circuit Court to a single count of proposing a sex act by computer to a female between the age of 15 and 17.
Kiser is scheduled to be sentenced May 3 by 30th Circuit Court Judge John Kilgore.
Proposing a sex act by computer to a minor is considered a Class 5 felony and carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
The charge also requires Kiser to register as a sex offender.
Scott County Commonwealth’s Attorney Marcus McClung said Kiser used his position of power as a police officer to take advantage of those he was supposed to protect.
“He swore to protect minors when he took his oath, and he didn’t do that,” McClung said. “You’ll find that 99.9 percent of law enforcement officers are out there doing the right thing everyday, and I hope people understand that this is one individual and don’t let this tarnish the names of other officers who are putting their lives on the line.”
Virginia State Police arrested Kiser in August 2012 following a week-long investigation that began when the girl’s parents contacted Scott County authorities.
Kiser was a member of the Coeburn Police Department when he began sending the sexually explicit messages, but he resigned from the force roughly a week before being taken into custody.
McClung said his office prosecuted the case because the girl who received the messages lived in Scott County.
Authorities said Kiser met the girl last year when he was investigating a noise complaint involving juveniles at a gas station in Coeburn.
Kiser reportedly learned the girl’s identity as a result of the incident, which allowed him to identify her profile on the social networking website Facebook.
After finding her profile, Kiser used Facebook to carry on what the prosecution described as a “long conversation” in which he asked the girl to perform sexual acts with him.
A large portion of that conversation was actually carried out between Kiser and an undercover VSP special agent who had been given permission by the girl’s parents to assume control of her Facebook profile.
Kiser reportedly communicated unknowingly with the special agent for nearly a week before being arrested.
McClung said the cooperation of the girl’s parents proved crucial in moving forward with the case.
“These cases might not be the toughest to prosecute, but they are the toughest to find because there are so many of them out there,” McClung said. “So when parents, and others, are diligent and help us as they’ve done in two of these cases now, it makes it easier to get a conviction. So we appreciate the cooperation we’ve gotten with the parents, as well as the state police.”