Man Convicted Of Sex Crimes In Tulsa, Arrested In Colorado

Tuesday, December 23rd 2014, 6:37 pm

A man convicted of sex crimes in Tulsa years ago is now in jail in Colorado for the same crime.

Prosecutors there said Joseph Ellsworth tried, again, to go online and lure a teenager for sex but was caught in a police sting.

Police in Tulsa knew Ellsworth was out of prison, but were shocked to hear he was arrested again.

The original detective on the case said Ellsworth used some of the same tactics he did 15 years ago.

Ellsworth is 58, and just a couple of years out of federal prison.

His time behind bars started in Oklahoma when he was convicted of attempted lewd molestation.

He was one of the first people arrested through an Internet sting in Tulsa.

"I was doing undercover at that time and that's where I met up with him online and then, ultimately, he traveled to Tulsa to have sex with, what he thought was, a 14 year old and we arrested him, here in Tulsa, when he showed up at Riverparks," said Tulsa Police Officer Don Holloway.

Holloway said he knew Ellsworth was out of prison but surprised to hear he was facing new charges in Colorado.

Authorities there said he was trying the same thing again, using a mobile app for teenagers.

"I use all their slang and it's ridiculous, but that's how good you have to be in order to portray yourself as an underage teen," said Jefferson County Investigator, Mike Harris.

Ellsworth was a Denver police officer before his first arrest, but labeled a sex offender afterward.

In the new case, court documents say he tried to get who he thought was a teenager to say she was old enough for consent, and the district attorney said that's evidence he was trying to skirt the law.

The D.A. said investigators got online and were immediately contacted by Ellsworth.

"Almost immediately (the investigator was) contacted by (the suspect) who indicated, 'Do you like rich doctors?' And that started the conversation," said Jefferson County D.A., Peter Weir.

Back in Tulsa, Holloway can't believe the same man would try the same crime after serving time in state and federal prison.

"To do the exact same thing, I mean I read part of the conversation from a news story up there and he said a lot of the same things in it that he did when he was talking to me," Holloway said.

Holloway said he thought better technology, webcams and instant messaging would make criminals smart enough to not talk to police, but now he believes there are more sex crimes happening online than ever before.