Pacific edition, Thursday, July 12, 2007

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — A U.S. sailor arrested in an online child sex solicitation sting in Australia is free on bail, the U.S. Consulate in Australia said Tuesday.

Petty Officer 2nd Class David Wayne Budd, who authorities allege had an online sexual conversation with a detective posing as a 14-year-old girl, was released July 3, according to consulate spokeswoman Alison Barnard.

Although Barnard did not say where Budd currently was living, she said “one of the conditions of his bail is that he stay in Australia.”

Parramatta Magistrate Paula Russell granted Budd a $1,000 bail June 26 on condition that a U.S. Navy official post bond and that Budd remain in New South Wales until his next court date Aug. 6.

Russell also stipulated that Budd must report to the local police’s Child Protection Unit every Monday, Wednesday and Friday upon establishing residence; that he not contact any nonrelatives younger than 16; and that he not use the Internet for anything other than his employment or to contact his family in the States.

Budd, an electronic technician with the Navy’s San Diego-based Southwest Regional Maintenance Center who was in the country participating in a U.S.-Australia military exercise, is accused of violating a law that prohibits using the Internet to groom a person younger than 16 for sex.

According to Parramatta police, Budd flew from Rockhampton, where he was participating in the exercise, to Sydney on June 23 thinking he would be meeting a 14-year-old girl. He was arrested at Kingsford Smith International Airport.

The U.S. consulate has said it is requesting that Australian authorities waive jurisdiction in the case.

“We have not yet received a response from the Australian Attorney General’s Department,” Barnard said.

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