Online child predator arrested in Boone

A West Jefferson man is facing multiple charges after police said he attempted to exchange money to have a sexual encounter with a minor female. 

On Thursday November 10, the Boone Police Department along with the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) operation concluded their investigation and arrested Benjamin Lindsey Keely, 31, of West Jefferson, North Carolina. 

Authorities said Keely had arranged a meeting in Boone, with the intent of exchanging money to have a sexual encounter with a minor.

Officers observed Keely travel to the meeting location, approached him and conducted an interview. Keely was then taken into custody prior to having made any physical contact with a minor.

Keely is charged with soliciting a child by computer and soliciting prostitution. Keely was taken before a Watauga County Magistrate, and then turned over to the staff at the Watauga Detention Center.