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Florida man arrested for traveling to meet a minor

A Florida man recently gave new meaning to the sex crime of traveling to meet a minor.

According to authorities, the 36-year-old man met a 14-year-old California boy while playing an Internet game on his PlayStation. The man was apparently able to convince the boy to chat with him on an Internet chat room. The communications may soon have become unlawful, as prosecutors claim that the boy’s parents found sexually suggestive photos and messages on the boy’s computer.

The boy’s parents contacted the police and also attempted to sever the communications on their own by restricting the boy’s cellphone use and blocking his online access. They also drove the boy to and from school, to minimize any potential contact with a stranger.

However, the man nevertheless found a way to make contact: He flew to California and apparently persuaded the boy to accompany him on his return flight to Florida. Since local authorities were already alerted to the potential threat, they were able to quickly trace the man’s cellphone to determine his location. When the man and the boy stepped off the plan in Florida, authorities were waiting. The man was arrested and now faces several felony charges.

In Florida, the crime of traveling to meet a minor is considered a second degree felony. If convicted, the man may face up to 15 years in prison, as well as an equally long probation after his release. In addition, the man may be ordered to pay up to $10,000 in fines. A conviction for this type of sex crime will also require registration with the applicable sex offender database.

Source: 10news.com, “San Diego prosecutors file charges against Florida man accused of abducting Escondido boy,” Allison Ash, June 14, 2013

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