Man Who Transported Mentally Handicapped 14-Year-Old To Face Charges
A Florida man is facing federal charges that he exchanged sexually explicit messages with a 14-year-old girl who was also mentally handicapped. The man is accused of kidnapping the girl and then transporting her across state lines. He was eventually caught in West Virginia. If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a potential maximum sentence of life in prison.
The defendant was initially charged in Pennsylvania where the kidnapping occurred. The federal government took over the case when it was reported that he had transported the child over state lines. He will face the charges in federal court in Pennsylvania where the initial crime occurred.
The 14-year-old reported that she met the defendant online. The defendant reported that he was 16 years old and the two spoke a few times a week eventually exchanging nude photos and agreeing to meet. Eventually, the girl was found in West Virginia and returned to her family. The 47-year-old male was arrested and will be sent back to Pennsylvania to face federal charges. Police were able to track the suspect through his cell phone. They could track which towers he was pinging as he traveled south and were eventually able to locate him.
Analyzing the charges
They’ve got him on two serious felonies involving the sexual exploitation of a minor. It will be very difficult for the defendant to muster up a defense to these charges. He is not related to the victim and police already have evidence that he sent nude photos to the victim. So they will be able to establish that he communicated with the victim for the purpose of engaging in a sexual relationship and then transported the victim over state lines in the furtherance of that goal. Since they have a paper trail of messages and the victim’s testimony, it won’t be hard to prove either charge. However, there is no evidence that sexual contact occurred between the victim and the perpetrator. So, that may be one thing he has going for him in this case. The girl told police that he tried to cuddle with her at a hotel room, but she said ‘no’ and the two left.
Investigators will lay into the suspect to determine if there are any other victims. In cases like these, multiple victims are not uncommon. While it may be the first time the suspect has ever tried anything like this, it’s also distinctly possible that he has left a trail of victims in his wake. So analyzing his whereabouts over the past decade or more will help determine if more charges should be filed.
Talk to a Tampa Federal Defense Attorney Today
The Matassini Law Firm represents the interests of those who have been charged by the federal government with federal crimes. Call our Tampa criminal lawyers today to schedule an appointment and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.