SOUTHINGTON - A Massachusetts man accused of trying to meet up with someone he thought was a 14-year-old boy he had met on an online dating site may not be prosecuted.
Carl Bezo, 50, of Westfield, Mass., applied for the Supervised Diversionary Program Tuesday in Bristol Superior Court. This program is usually reserved for defendants who have a psychiatric disability and say their condition contributed to their alleged behavior.
Bezo will learn on his next court date, on May 30, if he’s eligible. If accepted, he could receive treatment for up to two years, after which one count of attempted risk of injury to a minor would be dismissed.
According to the arrest warrant, in September, Bezo began chatting with someone online who was an adult posing as an underage boy. The man is part of the POP (Prey on Predators) Squad, a local group that has been responsible for at least six other arrests involving similar allegations.
Bezo, police say, communicated with the POP Squad member, who goes by “Incognito,” for several days. During the conversations, Incognito said he was only 14, which Bezo allegedly said he didn’t have a problem with, according to the arrest warrant.
Bezo also told Incognito he was good looking after the two exchanged photos and Bezo had been sent a photo of a younger-looking male. He also asked Incognito what kind of guy he liked and if he had ever “hooked up” with anyone, the warrant said.
The two eventually agreed to meet at Walmart in Southington on Sept. 28. The encounter was recorded, and shows Bezo acknowledging that what he was doing was wrong, according to the warrant. However, during their interaction, he denies ever intending to do anything besides talk and get dinner with the fictitious juvenile.
The video of the encounter and the chat logs between the two were later turned over to police in Massachusetts and Southington.
At the time of the allegations, Bezo was working as a custodian in a Westfield, Mass., middle school. The day after the Walmart meeting with Incognito, Bezo showed up for work and was confronted by school officials about the video of the encounter, which had been posted online. He was placed on leave and later fired.