SCURRY, TEXAS — A registered sex offender is back in custody at the Kaufman County jail after being indicted on new charges of online solicitation of a minor and being apprehended in Missouri.
Gregory Lee Battson, 49, was extradited to the Kaufman County jail Tuesday afternoon and booked with one count of “sell or purchase child for sexual performance” and one count “online solicit of a minor sexual conduct” according to jail records. He is currently being held on bonds totaling $350,000.
Battson’s arrest is the result of a months long, multiagency investigation, that began in Arlington, Texas last Fall and ended with his apprehension in Poplar Bluff, Missouri according to a Kaufman County District Attorney’s spokesman on Thursday.
According to authorities, a juvenile female victim and her mother arrived at an Arlington Police station front desk on September 12, 2019 to report inappropriate messages. A few days later, the victim voluntarily surrendered her cell phone to the Arlington Police Department for processing. On September 21, 2019 the Arlington Crimes Against Children Unit began a formal investigation.
In late January of this year, Arlington Police in conjunction with the Kaufman County Sheriff’s office executed a search warrant at Battson’s Scurry, Texas home.
“On January 24, 2020 a search warrant was executed in Kaufman County at Mr. Battson’s home,” Arlington Police Department Sgt. Michael Chitty tells inForney.com. “Electronic devices were seized for evidence and an arrest warrant was issued for Mr. Battson on February 21, 2020.”
After the arrest warrant was issued and Arlington Police Department and Kaufman County Sheriff’s deputies were unable to apprehend Battson, the case was handed over the US Marshall’s Service.
First reported by the Daily American Republic in Missouri, Battson was arrested on June 18 by the Poplar Bluff Police Department and booked into the Butler County, Missouri jail on Texas warrants.
Details on Battson’s arrest have not been released by the Poplar Bluff Police Department, but inForney.com has been able to confirm that Batson was found to be staying at a campsite when he was detained by police.
It is unknown how long Battson had been hiding from authorities since the arrest warrant was issued in February, or how long he had been in Missouri.
According to June 29 Kaufman county grand jury indictments obtained by inForney.com, investigators say that Battson “intentionally and knowingly induce a child who was then and there younger than 18 years of age, to engage in sexual conduct or performance”, beginning in February of 2019.
In a similar indictment, investigators allege that in early December 2019, Battson “with the intent to commit the offense of sexual assault, intentionally communicated by text message in a sexually explicit manner, namely to meet with the intent to engage in sexual contact with a minor,” the affidavit says.
Battson was previously convicted of the felony offense of “attempt to commit sexual assault of a child” by the 278th District Court in Walker County, Texas in 2007 and has been on the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Sex Offender Registry since 2009 according to court records.
Battson was originally arrested in 2004 as part of a Texas Attorney General undercover sting operation in Houston where 7 men were arrested and indicted after flirting in an online chatroom with undercover officers who they thought were young girls and arranged to meet for sex.
Previously, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, now governor of Texas, said his agency’s cyber-crime unit was responsible for the successful apprehension and conviction of Battson and others according to a Houston Chronicle article published at the time.
According to the DPS Texas Public Sex Offender website, Battson was due to be released from registration from his first charge in January 2021.
Battson is expected to have his first hearing before a Kaufman County judge later this month.