Appeals court upholds child exploitation verdict in PTC case


The Georgia Court of Appeals has upheld the guilty verdict from a jury that convicted a Clayton County man of soliciting sex online from an undercover Peachtree City police officer whom he thought was a 15-year-old girl.

Mohammed Bolton, 37, was convicted in March 2006 by a Fayette County Jury.

When he was arrested in October 2005, police said that Bolton was a youth minister at Harvest International Church in Jonesboro and also was a school bus driver.
In his appeal, Bolton challenged the sufficiency of the evidence to convict him and alleged that his trial counsel was deficient for not seeking a jury charge on entrapment.

On the jury charge matter, the court’s opinion noted that Bolton could not have argued entrapment as a defense because he failed to admit to the crime of violating the state’s computer pornography and child exploitation statute.

The court also noted that it found no evidence of entrapment in its review of the case.

In challenging the evidence, Bolton claimed that the state failed to prove that he was guilty of child molestation, contrary to the jury’s ruling.

The court determined, however, that prosecutors presented evidence showing that Bolton used an instant messaging network to arrange to have sex with the undercover officer, whom he thought was 15 years old.

“Contrary to Bolton’s contentions that there was a fatal variance between the allegations of the indictment and the trial evidence, the evidence set forth above was sufficient to establish his guilt of the online solicitation offense as charged,” the court wrote in its ruling.

Prior to the arrest, Bolton arranged with the undercover officer to meet in the garden area of the Peachtree City Walmart, and she had given him a description of the clothes she would be wearing.

After Bolton saw her and said hello, officers entered the store and took Bolton into custody. As he was being arrested, the undercover officer dialed the cellphone number that Bolton had provided her online, and his cellphone rang.

The arrest of Bolton was one of more than a dozen undertaken by the Peachtree City police department’s campaign on Internet crimes against children. The undercover officer who handled the cases had received special training from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to handle these types of cases.