Deputies have arrested a man they claim arranged to meet a 12-year-old girl online and was caught in her home.
The 24-year-old man is accused of traveling to the girl’s home on the 3100 block of 9th Street E at about 2 a.m., according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
Detectives allege the man and the girl met on Facebook two weeks ago, and that they were texting each other back and forth. Detectives believe that on Wednesday, the girl texted him and asked him to come over.
Police claim the man knew the girl was 12, but still went to her home and was in her bedroom for about an hour when the girl’s grandmother walked in.
According to police, the grandmother called 911 and, then alerted other family members who started hitting the man. Reports indicate that once police arrived, the man ran out of the house, saying, “I’m getting killed.”
Detectives said both the girl and the suspect said nothing sexual happened while they were in the house together, and they were only talking.
The man was charged with traveling to meet a minor for unlawful sexual activity.
The investigation is ongoing.
While it is a crime to solicit a minor, it is a much more serious matter to be accused of traveling to meet a minor. After a solicitation is made online, in person or via text, and the adult travels any distance to meet the minor in person, he or she is in danger of very severe consequences. These harsh penalties may include a very long prison sentence and lifetime registration as a sex offender.
If you have been contacted by police, the best thing you can do is to not answer any questions or respond to statements. Police can be tricky and may even promise to give you reduced charges or dismiss them altogether if you talk to them. Just remember that even making a simple statement that you do not consider to be a confession can be extremely damaging to your defense.
If you have been arrested for or charged with a sex crime, call a Manatee County Criminal Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton to arrange a free initial consultation to discuss your defense options – 866-608-5529. We can begin helping you immediately, so do not delay!