Taylor Craft book-in photo

A Kaufman County man was sentenced to state prison after being found guilty in Rockwall County of preying on young girls via Snapchat across a wide area of North Texas.

Rockwall County District Attorney Kendra Culpepper announced Friday that Taylor Craft, 26, was arrested in March 2019 after a three month investigation that began in Connecticut and extended to Rockwall, Kaufman, and Dallas counties. Investigators, including Texas Ranger Bruce Sherman, determined that, on multiple occasions, Craft posed as a female on a fraudulent Snapchat account in order to gain the trust of his female victims then later manipulatively obtain nude or partially clothed photographs of the victims.

 Craft, under his assumed female alias, would then pressure the victims to have sex with a “friend”, who was initially identified on the fraudulent Snapchat account as a teenaged boy but was actually Craft himself.  If the victims refused, Craft would threaten to publicly expose any previously obtained compromising photographs.   

Culpepper said Craft carried out the scheme even though the victims clearly and repeatedly identified themselves as under the age of 17.  Of the three Rockwall County victims, two were 8th grade students at the time Craft solicited them for sex.

In one situation, Craft, under his assumed alias, convinced a young victim by text to come outside while her parents were sleeping. Craft drove up and told the child that he was a friend of the alias and convinced her to get in his car.  He then tried to kiss and grope the victim before she jumped out of the car and ran back to her house. 

Upon his initial arrest, Craft faced 23 charges in Kaufman, Rockwall, and Dallas counties ranging from aggravated sexual assault of a child and aggravated kidnapping to online solicitation of a minor and possession of child pornography.

Culpepper said the Rockwall County and Kaufman County District Attorney’s Offices worked closely together to prosecute the cases.

“We have appreciated the great collaboration between our offices and regional law enforcement agencies to bring Taylor Craft to justice,” Culpepper said.

“We were able to strengthen all of our cases by working together, added Kaufman County District Attorney Erleigh Wiley.

On the Rockwall County cases, Craft was sentenced to 35 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice-Instiutional Division for sexual performance by a child under the age of 14, the maximum sentence of 20 years in TDCJ for possession of child pornography with the intent to promote, and the maximum 20 years for online solicitation of a minor.  The sentences will be served concurrently, and Craft will be required to register as a lifetime sex offender.

Craft has additionally been sentenced in Kaufman County to 35 years in TDCJ for continuous human trafficking and 10 years for possession of child pornography.

“Taylor Craft weaponized technology to prey on children in Rockwall County,” said Rockwall Assistant District Attorney Justin Almand.  “Our thanks to Texas Ranger Bruce Sherman for connecting the digital bread crumbs and putting Taylor Craft in prison where predators belong.”

Culpepper added, “Every parent of a teenager should sit their child down and discuss the dangers of these communications.  Those conversations are difficult, but please don’t wait until it’s too late.  It is important that kids know how to react in these situations and know they can report them to a trusted adult or the police.”

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