A 24-year-old Boulder resident is facing sexual assault and solicitation charges after police say he told an undercover officer during a sting operation that he was willing to pay for sex with a fictitious 12-year-old girl.
Simon Zeizel was arrested Wednesday after arriving for a pre-arranged meeting with an undercover Boulder police detective at Einstein Bros. Bagels, 2311 Clover Basin Drive, Longmont.
Police say the undercover officer was posing as the mother of a 12-year-old girl who was willing to sell her daughter for sex.
According to Detective Scott Sloan of the Boulder Police Department's Internet Crimes Against Children unit, Zeizel contacted the online persona through a Craigslist posting titled "Mommy Asia is back." The text portion of the ad read: "The title says it all."
According to Sloan, Zeizel responded to the ad and, after some back-and-forth dialogue with police, indicated he was willing to pay for sex with the 12-year-old girl.
"By not posting something overtly sexual," Sloan said, "we get a lot of people who respond to these ads. But when we move them from that fantasy of just communicating with a blank face, and move it into reality ... that's when it's clear that this is someone who is actively seeking to have sex with a child."
When Zeizel arrived at Einstein Bros. he was met by Longmont and Boulder police, along with officials from the Boulder County Sheriff's Office, and placed under arrest.
Zeizel is facing charges of sexual assault on a child, a Class 5 felony, solicitation of child prostitution, a Class 3 felony, and criminal solicitation, a Class 4 felony.
He is being held in the Boulder County Jail on $50,000 bond and is due in court Tuesday to be formally charged.
Sloan said this was the first sting operation Boulder's Internet Crimes Against Children unit has performed in 2014.
"The public might view this as the cops entrapping people," Sloan said, "but we really do a very small percentage of pro-active stuff. We're not just sitting there, trying to set people up. It's not totally haphazard or, 'Hey, let's go after this one.' But if we see a problem, we try to go after it."
In reactive operations, which Sloan said comprise the majority of his unit's work, detectives will often respond to an ad on Craigslist and similar sites, targeting posts with "ambiguous" phrasing.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Alex Burness at 303-473-1389 or firstname.lastname@example.org.