ROCKWALL, TX (May 28, 2021) A Kaufman County man who preyed on young girls via Snapchat has been sentenced to 35 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) by a Rockwall County District Judge.
26-year-old Taylor Craft was arrested in March of 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. He would later manipulatively obtain nude or partially clothed photographs of those young 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 his victims refused the sexual advances, Craft would threaten to publicly expose any previously obtained compromising photographs.
Craft carried out his scheme and sexual coercion 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.
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,” said Rockwall County District Attorney Kenda Culpepper. Kaufman County District Attorney Erleigh Wiley concurred saying, “We were able to strengthen all of our cases by working together.”
On the Rockwall County cases, Craft was sentenced to 35 years in TDCJ 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.”
Submitted press release, edited for publication in Blue Ribbon News.
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