Fight leads to arrest of local man for luring a minor for sex

Adam Curtis Police Press Releases, Public Affairs Press Releases

Cecil Lipps

A Sierra Vista man was arrested for luring a minor for sex after fighting with a Tucson man who had posed as a minor staying in a local hotel room in an apparent attempt to catch a sexual predator.

Sierra Vista Police Department officers responded to a report of a fight at a hotel located in the 1500 block of E. Fry Blvd. at about 10:30 p.m. One of the men left the scene in a car and was subsequently stopped by a Cochise County Sheriff’s Office deputy.

SVPD officers interviewed the man who remained on scene, identified as Tucson-resident Michael Ballantyne. Ballantyne told officers that he had posed as a 13-year-old boy and made arrangements online with someone to meet him at the hotel, where he had rented a room, for the stated purpose of having sex.

When the second man, identified as 32-year-old Sierra Vista resident Cecil John Lipps, arrived, Ballantyne said he tried to confront Lipps verbally. Ballantyne said a fight erupted when Lipps tried to punch him and tried to take his camera and phone.

Lipps was arrested and charged with luring a minor for sex, a class 3 felony, and was booked into Cochise County Jail. Lipps was released from custody on bond today.

Anyone with information relevant to this investigation is asked to contact SVPD Detective Joshua Nicola at (520) 452-7500.