Mass. man, charged in Southington POP Squad investigation, may be spared prosecution

Published on Tuesday, 17 April 2018 14:00
Written by JUSTIN MUSZYNSKI

@muszynskiBP

SOUTHINGTON - A Massachusetts man accused of trying to meet up in Southington with someone he met on an online dating site, who he thought was a 14-year-old boy, may not be prosecuted.

Carl Bezo, 50, of Westfield, Mass., applied for the Supervised Diversionary Program Tuesday in Bristol Superior Court. The program is usually reserved for defendants who have a psychiatric disability, who say their condition contributed to their alleged behavior.

Bezo will learn on his next court date, on May 30, if he’s eligible for the program. Should it be granted, he could receive treatment for up to two years and, if successful, one count of attempted risk of injury to a minor would be dismissed.

According to the arrest warrant, Bezo in September began chatting with someone through an online dating site who was an adult posing as an underage boy. The man is part of the POP (Prey on Predators) Squad, a local group that has been responsible for at least six other arrests in the area involving similar allegations.

Bezo, police allege, communicated with the POP Squad member, who goes by “Incognito,” for several days. During the conversations, Incognito said he was only 14 years old, which Bezo allegedly said he didn’t have a problem with, according to the arrest warrant.

Bezo also told Incognito he is good looking, after the two exchange photos and Bezo is sent a photo of a younger-looking male. He also asks him what kind of guy he likes and asks is he has ever “hooked up” with anyone,” the warrant said.

The two eventually agree to meet at the WalMart store in Southington on Sept. 28. The encounter was recorded, and shows Bezo acknowledge what he was doing was wrong, according to the warrant. However, during their interaction, he denies ever intending to do anything besides talk and get dinner with the fictitious juvenile.

The video of the encounter and the chat logs between the two were later turned over to police in Massachusetts and Southington. At the time of the allegations, he worked as a custodian in a Massachusetts middle school. The day after the WalMart meeting, Bezo showed up for work at a middle school in Westfield, Mass., and was confronted by school officials about the video of the encounter, which was posted online. He was placed on leave and later fired.

Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or jmuszynski@bristolpress.com.



Posted in The Bristol Press, Southington Herald on Tuesday, 17 April 2018 14:00. Updated: Tuesday, 17 April 2018 14:02.