A 22 year-old Missoula man was charged with felony sexual abuse of a minor in Missoula Justice Court on Friday after he allegedly responded to a fictitious social media profile of a 12 year-old girl.

Deputy County Attorney Carrie Garber explained to Judge Alex Beal why she was requesting $100,000 bail for Justin Ayers.

“The state of Montana is requesting $100,000 bond,” said Garber. “The reason for that, Your Honor, is based upon the very specific facts of this case, and the very profane and explicit sexual activity that the defendant utilized in Instagram messages which have been retained and obtained by the state for purposes of prosecution to have sex with a 12 year old child.”

Garber continued to emphasize the intent of the defendant to meet the young girl.

“The defendant was clearly aware of that,” she said. “The Instagram messages clearly indicate that he asked her which middle school do you go to? All of this is in evidence and the suggestions are just absolutely outrageous, Your Honor.”

Garber also asked that the defendant have absolutely no access to social media, where the contact originated.

“We're going to ask that the defendant be ordered to not have any contact with any minors, and that he not be allowed to use any social media, which would include any dating sites or any other social media apps or programs like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc,” she said. “It probably might be easiest to simply to refrain from all use of electronic devices for a period of time.”

Judge Beal took into account the fact that no actual contact with a 12 year-old child occurred, and instead of the $100,000 bond requested, he set bond at $25,000.

“Given the potential jail time that's out there, I think there is a significant flight risk involved, and so some ‘skin in the game’ is necessary,” said Judge Beal. “Bond is set in the amount of $25,000, and if you're able to post that you can be released to the folks at pre-trial (supervision), and that’s released only to the folks that pre-trial, and they will have to come and get you.”

Ayers will be arraigned in Missoula District Court on a charge of felony sexual abuse of a minor, which carries a maximum penalty of life or 100 years in the Montana State Prison and a $10,000 fine.

Ayers was remanded back to the Missoula County Jail.

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