SOUTHINGTON - A Massachusetts man accused of trying to meet up in Southington with someone he met on an online dating site, who he allegedly thought was a 14-year-old boy, will not face prosecution.
Carl Bezo, 50, of Westfield, Mass., was granted Accelerated Rehabilitation - a first-time offender program - during a hearing Friday, in Bristol Superior Court. The program is expected to last a year, when he will be on a pretrial form of probation.
During the probationary period, Bezo must avoid any new arrests and comply with other conditions set forth by a judge. Success would result in one count of attempted risk of injury to a minor being dropped, as though Bezo had never been arrested.
According to the arrest warrant, Bezo last September began chatting with someone through an online dating site 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 numerous other arrests in the area involving similar allegations.
Bezo, police allege, communicated with the POP Squad member, who goes by “Incognito,” for several days. During the conversations, Incognito said he was only 14 years old, which Bezo said he didn’t have a problem with, according to the arrest warrant.
The two allegedly exchanged photos before eventually agreeing to meet at the WalMart store in Southington on Sept. 28. The encounter was recorded and shows Bezo acknowledge 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 worked as a custodian in a Massachusetts middle school. The day after the WalMart meeting, Bezo showed up for work at a middle school in Westfield, Mass., and was confronted by school officials about the video of the encounter, which was posted online. He was placed on leave and later fired.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.