The Bizarre World of Florida

Parents, keep your eyes wide open and always be on guard. March 24, 2012

A Gainesville man was arrested early Friday morning on allegations he prostituted a 13-year-old girl he met in church, according to a Gainesville Police Department arrest report.

Shay Ward Thomsen, 36, was charged with procuring a minor under the age of 18 for prostitution. Police said the investigation is continuing, including trying to learn who had sex with the girl.

“We have been following up on it today and we are going to continue to follow up. This is an open investigation and it is nowhere near being over,” Cpl. Angelina Valuri said.

The girl told police that Thomsen set up the arrangements, charging $50 to $90 depending on the specific sex act. She told officers she got 15 percent to 20 percent of the money.

Police unraveled the case when Sgt. David Blizzard pulled Thomsen over for an expired tag at about 1:40 a.m. Blizzard saw the girl and was told she was a baby sitter whom Thomsen was taking home.

Blizzard reported that Thomsen and the girl appeared nervous. Thomsen gave Blizzard consent to search his car, and Blizzard found a cellphone containing a nude picture of the girl.

The girl eventually told detectives that she met Thomsen in church and that he recently gave her the idea to prostitute, according to the report. She told police Thomsen would have people call him to arrange sex with her and then drive her to the locations.

She sent the nude picture of herself to Thomsen by mistake, police reported.

The girl’s father, who was called to the scene, told police the girl has known Thomsen for about two weeks and that she baby-sat for him a couple of times. He added that Thomsen knew the girl was 13 and that she had a 10 p.m. curfew.

“The father was aware that she was baby-sitting. This all started because they met in church and she was his baby sitter,” Valuri said. “She was not baby-sitting last night. She was not home on time.”

It is not known if the father knew the girl was not home at 10 as she should have been.

The girl and Thomsen met at a Seventh-Day Adventist church in Gainesville but the specific church was not available, Valuri said.

The girl told police she intended to send the nude photo to a girlfriend, Valuri said. She added that while the girl was naked, she was not in a sexual or provocative pose.

Thomsen is in the Alachua County jail with bond set at $102,000. He has a court record for a number of driving infractions and for hunting ducks without a license.


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