A Dade City middle school teacher has been accused of using Facebook to chat and plan sexual encounters with two underage girls in Belize.
The 48-year-old Seffner man was arrested and charged Friday with the federal offense of online enticement of minors.
According to a criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the man had sexually explicit conversations with a 13-year-old and a 15-year-old in February. The complaint alleges that a cyber-crimes unit with Homeland Security received the information regarding the chats on March 12.
Reports indicate that the man spoke with the girls about how they could meet up and that he purchased a plane ticket.
Agents claim they found pictures of the young girls in his account.
On Friday, the man checked in for his 4:50 a.m. flight from Tampa International Airport to Belize City, with a layover in Miami. Law enforcement stopped him and searched his checked bag and found condoms, a drug for erectile dysfunction, two brand new computer tablets and fliers for a hotel in Belize. He was permitted to fly to Belize, but was refused entry once he arrived.
He was arrested once he arrived back in the United States. The complaint alleges the man traveled to Belize nine times since June 2011.
He faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, but he could be sentenced up to life in prison for the federal charges against him.
If you have been arrested for or charged with any federal sex crime, including online enticement of a minor in Florida, a conviction will change your life forever. The mere allegation that you were involved in a sexually motivated crime can be enough to permanently damage your reputation. Before you speak to anyone or make any statements regarding sex crimes charges, you must lock down legal representation from an attorney who is familiar with defending federal criminal charges.
A Florida Federal Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help you through the entire legal process, making sure your rights are protected. We will analyze every aspect of your case, including the factors that led to your arrest, so that we can pursue the best outcome for your unique situation.
A conviction for online enticement of a minor carries a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years in prison without parole and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. An additional fine of $250,000 can be imposed. Other consequences can include a supervised release period that could last for the rest of your life.
If you or someone you love is facing a federal sex crimes charge, do not delay in contacting a Florida Federal Sex Crimes Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton. These are serious charges that require immediate action. You can reach us 24/7 online or by dialing us statewide and toll-free at 866-608-5529.
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