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Arnold woman meets Facebook friend in person, unaware of sex offender status

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ARNOLD, MO (KTVI) – An Arnold woman met a man from Tennessee who lied about his job and his criminal history, police said.

That criminal history includes his status as a convicted sex offender.

Jamie Amerson, 36, faces felony charges after authorities said he failed to register as a sex offender in the state of Missouri.

Police said Amerson met the woman over Facebook and took a bus to St. Louis to meet her in person downtown.

The woman and man were in Des Peres when police say she called 911 for an emergency.

“[Officers] noticed something suspicious. And took it a step further with some interviews,” Des Peres Department of Public Safety Detective Marshall Broughton said.

Police could not elaborate on the emergency but said Emerson told the woman he is a business owner in Tennessee, when in fact, he is homeless.

“You don’t really know the other person’s intent until something actually occurs. In this particular case, we were fortunate, that we came into contact with them, before probably anything could have occurred,” Det. Broughton said.

Amerson is a registered sex offender in Tennessee.

“A 2007 felony, involving a child, caused him to be registered sex offender,” Det. Broughton said.

The incident stemmed from a case in Florida, involving “Lewd and Lascivious Battery of a Child,” court documents state.

Amerson was advised by his probation officer to register as a sex offender upon arrival in Missouri, Des Police said. Missouri law gives offenders three days to do so.

The woman is now out of harm’s way, police said.

Failure to register as a sex offender in the state of Missouri is a Class E Felony and can be punishable of up to four years in prison.

Broughton says this case underscores the importance of caution in any online relationship.

“We always suggest that if you’re going to meet face to face, that you know a little bit about that individual,” Broughton said. “Criminal histories of individuals is public information in Missouri. We always recommend that.”