HOUSTON (CBS/AP) A Houston mother crossed the line -- in fact she crossed the U.S.- Canadian border twice, prosecutors say -- to engage in an illegal sexual relationship with a minor. And it all began with the Internet video game "World of Warcraft," according to authorities.
Photo: Lauri Price.
Lauri Price, a substitute teacher and mother of four, was jailed after allegedly having sex with a 16-year-old boy whom she is said to have lured from his home.
The 42-year-old Houston mother has been charged by prosecutors in Houston with two counts of online solicitation of a minor and one count of enticing a child with the intent to commit a felony.
Photo: A scene from the online video game "World of Warcraft."
Authorities say Price started having an online sexual relationship with the boy, then 15, in September 2008 after meeting him via the online video game "World of Warcraft," said Donna Hawkins, a spokeswoman for the Harris County District Attorney's Office.
After going to the teen's home in Barrie, Ontario, in February of 2009, and failing to lure the boy away, Price continued her online relationship with him, said Lt. Matthew Gray with the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce.
"She talked to him about sex and a lot of different stuff. It was a very long, long grooming process. She thought that in February she had him at that time. She continued to work on him until she finally felt she broke through," he said.
On Dec. 29, Price flew back to Canada and lured the teen from his home, taking him to a hotel in Rosseau, about 70 miles away, and having sex with him, Gray said.
"From our investigation, we have thousands of e-mails and instant messages to go through," Gray said. "She was very persistent to say the least."
Price was arrested early Tuesday morning, Jan. 5, at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport after returning from Canada. She made her initial court appearance Wednesday.
Her attorney, Skip Cornelius, said he finds it both interesting and sad that Texas authorities are prosecuting Price for solicitation even though the boy was old enough in Canada to give consent.
Price is not facing charges in Canada related to sexual assault or other charges because the age of consent in that country is 16. In Texas, it is 17.
"The state authorities are taking the position the solicitation, since it occurred in Texas and in Texas he's a minor, is a crime. We'll have to see," Cornelius said.
Before leaving his home, the teen left a note for his mother saying he was running away with Price. Authorities in Barrie were looking for the two when an off-duty police officer in Rosseau spotted them at the hotel, Gray said.
After releasing Price, Canadian police, knowing she could face possible charges in the United States, told U.S. authorities when she would be returning to Houston, Gray said.
Price has worked as a permanent substitute teacher with the Cypress-Fairbanks school district in suburban Houston, and has four children, Gray said. Prosecutors said after her arrest, Price was fired from her job.
If convicted, she faces from two to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 for each charge, Hawkins said.