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, has been found to be ineligible for a program that could have spared him prosecution.
Carl Bezo, 50, of Westfield, Mass., was informed Wednesday, in Bristol Superior Court, that a clinical diagnosis found he does not have a psychiatric disability that causes “substantial adverse effects” on his behavior - a requirement for the suspension of prosecution. The program is usually reserved for defendants who say their condition contributed to their alleged behavior.
Had he been granted the program, one count of attempted risk of injury to a minor against Bezo could have been dropped. He is due back in court on July 10.
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.
The two allegedly exchanged photos before eventually agreeing 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, Bezo 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.