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Pittsburgh-area man charged with online solicitation of teen girls

A resident of the Pittsburgh metro area is accused of creating false Facebook profiles in order to receive explicit photos from teenage girls. Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly also claimed that the man arranged meetings with three girls. The man faces more than 80 felony counts, including involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and possession of child pornography.

The criminal investigation into the suspect's Internet usage began in September 2011, after law enforcement agents learned that he was going to visit a 14-year-old girl in Butler County, Pennsylvania, reportedly for sex. The man was arrested and the AG's office investigated his use of Facebook.

According to Kelly, the man created a profile page for a nonexistent Florida man and contacted local teenagers through the website. Through the Facebook persona, which had more than 600 "friends," the suspect gained the girls' trust and then asked them for nude or sexually explicit photos, according to authorities. He reportedly had sexually explicit pictures from five girls.

After a while, the suspect created a second Facebook persona that was supposed to have been a friend of the first man. The second person told that the first man's Facebook friends that he had been badly beaten, and later claimed the man had died. He directed the girls to a third fictional character, a Pittsburgh man who would give the second money if the girls would engage in sexual activities with him. Police say that the suspect met with two girls for the purpose of committing sex acts.

As can be seen from this story, the state of Pennsylvania aggressively prosecutes those accused of Internet solicitation of minors. It is important that anyone accused of soliciting minors for sex contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Source: The Express Times, "53-year-old Butler County man allegedly used Facebook to solicit young girls for nude photos, sex," Feb. 10, 2012

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