Cowboy-Pedophile Busted on Dateline NBC
Meet 31-year-old Thomas Coffen. He appeared on Dateline NBC's news program To Catch a Predator after making a date online for sex with a girl pretending to be 14.
He tells her “I am into young girls. I like them better than the older girls” and he goes further, admitting he’s done this before. When the decoy types “How young have you dated,” he says “14.”
Actress, decoy (hidden camera footage): Hey come on in! Come on in! I’m in here.
Thomas Coffen: Trying to find this place was hard.
Actress: Come into the living room and take a seat.
Online, he tells the girl several times that he loves her. He also makes it clear he’s coming to the house to have sex with the girl who said she was 14. He even sends her a picture of himself naked.
Coffen: I’m looking for work and stuff.
Chris Hansen, Dateline correspondent (walks out): And what kind of work were you looking for here exactly?
Coffen: I do black top sealing.
Hansen:And did the owner of the house call you for black top work or—
Coffen: No, I was put ads out and stuff.
Hansen: Really. And did you bring all your black top stuff with you?
Coffen: I just came down just to look at it.
Hansen: Oh, just to look at it. Now do you want to start the story again?
Coffen: What do you mean?
Hansen: Tell the truth.
Coffen: I talk to a lot of people.
Hansen: So, you weren’t really here to give an estimate for a black top job.
Hansen: That was a lie.
Coffen: Sorry about that.
Hansen: That’s appropriate to send to a 14-year-old old girl?
He doesn’t deny he sent the picture... but does he know it’s a possible crime?
Hansen: Do you know that this is illegal to send something like this to someone you think is underage?
Coffen: Yeah, oh and it won’t happen again. I can tell you that much.
Then he tries to explain it all away as one big computer glitch.
Coffen: I shut down my computer and stuff and my computer messed up.
Hansen: Your computer—so it just, what magically typed itself like a player piano?
Coffen: No, it’s messed up, I’m saying I have a virus in it and stuff.
Hansen: Well, what’s messed up in this conversation. What was your intent today? Just to babysit until…
Coffen: No just come over to say "hi." That was it.
But how will he explain that online the decoy asked him to bring condoms and he just happens to have them in his shirt pocket.
Coffen: I always carry them on me.
Hansen: You always carry them right there in your pocket?
Coffen: Well, yeah if I sit on them they end up getting crushed.
Hansen: Do you see how this looks Thomas?
Thomas: Yeah… it looks bad.
On January 30, 2011 Coffen was released from prison and is now residing in the BROOKSVILLE, FL area. Please advise us if you see him at a rodeo.
Thomas Coffen was charged with three - Third Degree Felonies over the April 21st, 2006 arrest. He was found Guilty on all counts (Attempted Lewd/Lascivious Battery, Computer Pornography, and Protection Of Minors/Obscenity. He was sentenced to up to 29 months in a Department of Corrections State Prison, plus the 172 days already served, plus 3 years' probation.
In March of 2007, he filed a motion on his own behalf requesting his sentence be Clarified or Defined (so he would know how much time exactly he must serve). The request was denied in May of 2007.
As of September 21, 2009, he remains in prison.
The episode involving Thomas Coffen can be viewed on MSNBC's website. In the Video Section click on Episode 10. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12728348/