Pennsylvania prosecutors are pressing charges against a 58-year-old Windber man who allegedly sent sexually graphic messages to online personalities he believed to be 13-year-old girls. Charges, which are being filed by the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office, include unlawful contact with a minor, attempted unlawful contact, and criminal use of communication facility. These types of Internet sex crime charges carry serious penalties in the State of Pennsylvania.
During the investigation, the accused individual allegedly had communication both online and offline with two agents who were posing as 13-year-old girls. In addition to sending sexually explicit communication and images, he is accused of offering to meet the girls for sexual acts, providing alcohol and working around their parent's schedule.
In undercover investigations like this one, agents claim not to seek the attention of the men they are investigation, but rather that the men approach them first. A good criminal defense attorney is vital in these cases because of the strict penalties and the potential for becoming a member of the sex offender registry for life.
Investigators are now following up on the case to determine if the accused individual made contact with any other minors. Additional charges could be filed if evidence of other contact is found.
The man is currently being held on $100,000 bond awaiting a preliminary hearing. Authorities consider summer to be prime time for kids to be left alone. As summer approaches, law enforcement authorities are increasing their efforts to detect people suspected of online enticement of a minor.
Source: The Daily American, "Windber man charged with soliciting girls online," Michelle Ganassi, 5/4/2011