Brian Worster relished the idea of sexually abusing a female acquaintance’s 3-year-old daughter because he would be “working with memories that won’t stick,” according to text messages authorities obtained from Worster’s cellphone.
Worster sent his graphic text messages to his friend and sex partner Lafe Best, whose responses also indicated he wanted to have sex with the same girl, investigators said. He was particularly interested in the girl’s racial mix, based on the exchange.
“Let the grooming begin ... and shes riht (sic) up your alley&half black,” Worster texted Best, detectives said.
“Nice :),” Best replied, according to an arrest report.
On Tuesday, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office arrested Best, 37, on a charge of conspiring to commit sexual battery on a girl younger than 12. Worster, 39, was arrested last month by the Ormond Beach Police Department on various child sex charges. Both men remained held without bail at the Volusia County Branch Jail.
Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood told The News-Journal on Wednesday that Ormond Beach police should have notified his agency once the investigation got started because it would have meant both suspects would have been arrested at the same time. Instead, his deputies didn’t find out about the case until five days ago, after the State Attorney’s Office took over the case and reached out, he said.
“For some reason that I can’t explain, they let the other guy stay (free),” Chitwood said. “We knew nothing about anything until the State Attorney’s Office called us.”
Ormond Beach Police Chief Jesse Godfrey said he addressed the matter Wednesday with Chitwood. He also discussed it with his own detectives.
“At the end of the day, the two people who need to be in jail are in jail and that’s what’s important,” Godfrey said.
Police became aware of the allegations against Worster on Dec. 17, 2018, after he was rushed to the hospital following a drug overdose, according to an arrest report.
The day before police were contacted, the 3-year-old girl told her mother that Worster had touched her inappropriately, police said. After the ambulance took Worster to the hospital, the girl’s mother saw Worster’s cellphone lying on the bed and she scrolled through it, according to the arrest report. That’s when she came upon the text messages and contacted police.
During the conversation, Worster described his plan to groom the girl and make sure she got comfortable enough with him so that Best could participate in future sexual encounters with her, authorities said.
After police obtained the cellphone, they discovered more than 100 images of child pornography on it, the report stated. The girl also was interviewed by child services, at which time she said Worster had fondled her, police said.
The text messages also included Worster telling Best that the girl’s mother was “not a very good mom” and a drug abuser, detectives said. He also anticipated that the girl’s mother would be relying on him to babysit her daughter while she went out to seek sex and drugs for herself, the report stated.
Additionally, Worster told Best he was on an anonymous Web browser looking up substances that would “safely make kids pass out for a couple hours,” according to police.
“Can’t wait,” was Best’s response, detectives said.
″(I) gotta take this opportunity while I can at my age who knows when something like this will land in my lap again,” Worster wrote to Best.
“I know right,” Best replied, according to police. “I’ve got all kinds of Visions dancing in my head right now lol.”
The two of them later exchanged explicit texts describing the sex acts they wanted to do on the girl, authorities said.
During his interview with detectives, Worster explained away the text messages with Best, saying it was “just foreplay” between the two, the report stated. Detectives said Worster claimed he was getting Best “worked up” so they could hook up later.
Andrew Gant, a Sheriff’s Office spokesman, said additional charges could be filed against Best. Evidence of child pornography was found on his phone, he said.
Gant also confirmed that Best lived in a home with a 20-month-old boy, but there is no evidence to suggest the boy was abused.