Troopers with the Delaware State Police have arrested a Felton-area sex offender after it was determined he had engaged in sexual acts with a minor.
The investigation began Oct. 23, when a trooper was sent to a home in the unit block of Country Side drive to investigate a report of a possible trespassing incident, said police spokesman Master Cpl. Gary Fournier.
When the trooper arrived, he made contact with Edward L. Bassett, who lives in the development with his mother and three young children, but not at the reported address. Information was obtained from Bassett that a 14-year-old female runaway from the Middletown area had been living in his home since July 2013 and detectives had been to his residence earlier looking for her.
The girl had been picked up earlier that afternoon by officers with the Camden Police Department and returned safely to her home. Bassett was not charged with any crime in this complaint and was released.
Detectives continued to follow-up on the incident after it was alleged Bassett and the girl may have been involved sexually, Fournier said. Bassett, a Tier II, or medium risk, sex offender, had apparently befriended the girl on Facebook approximately a year ago. When she ran away from her home and was living at Bassett's residence they became involved in a sexual relationship and engaged in sexual encounters eight times during a one month period, Fournier said.
Bassett, who was convicted in December 1997 for third-degree unlawful sexual contact, was arrested Nov. 22 while walking in the area of his home. He was formally charged with eight counts of second-degree rape and a single count of unlawful sexual contact by a sex offender.
He was committed to the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, Smyrna, in default of a $580,000 secured bond, and ordered to have no contact with anyone under the age of 18.