Food Lion executive resigns, charged after attempting to meet underage girl for sex

HENDERSONVILLE, NC (WBTV) - A now former executive with Salisbury-based Food Lion was arrested in Hendersonville on Wednesday night for allegedly trying to meet an underage girl for a sexual encounter.

Investigators say the girl was actually an undercover police officer.

"The individual had contact with one of our investigators and he believed that the investigator was going to provide an underage child for him to engage in activities with," said Hendersonville Police Chief Herbert Blake.

Paul Robert LaCroix, 54, of Concord, was charged with conspiracy to commit a first-degree statutory sex offense, Hendersonville Police said.

LaCroix was arrested as part of an ongoing initiative involving the North Carolina Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, detectives with the Hendersonville Police Department, and Homeland Security.

Even though this case did not involve any actual children, Chief Blake says there is a lesson for parents.

"We think it's important for parents to certainly monitor their kids website and social media activity, this is an example of what can go awfully wrong if parents don't do that," Chief Blake added.

LaCroix was placed in the Henderson County Detention Center on $100,000 bond and has since been released.

Food Lion's corporate office confirmed that LaCroix, the company's former vice president of pricing, resigned saying he was "no longer employed by Food Lion."

According to his now deleted LinkedIn page, LaCroix has been with Food Lion since December of 2009.

Food Lion released this statement Thursday morning:

"Food Lion was made aware of the situation involving Paul LaCroix yesterday. He was suspended immediately from the organization, pending further investigation."

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