The Office of Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit announced the arrest of three men, who are accused of using the Internet to sexually proposition what they believed were underage girls. In three separate incidents, the men allegedly traveled to locations in Pennsylvania in order to meet the “girls” for sex.
“Our Child Predator Unit continues to aggressively investigate and prosecute those who commit heinous acts against our kids,” said Kane. “Criminals, who intend to contact children over the Internet for indecent purposes, should plan on spending time in jail.”
The defendants are identified as follows:
• Robert Stewart, 61, 12 Dragoon St., Reisterstown (Baltimore County), MD;
• Joshua Martin, 32, 124 Elizabeth Court, Wrightsville (York County), PA; and
• Dennis Belles, 45, 145 W. Main St., Evans City (Butler County), PA.
The charges state that Stewart, who works as a photographer for Lifetouch Photography – a company that photographs students at schools and sporting events – used a popular Internet chat room to contact a “girl,” who was an undercover agent.
According to the criminal complaint, Stewart questioned the “girl” about her experience with boys, and discussed in graphic detail the sex acts he wished to perform with her.
After traveling from Maryland to York County, PA in order to meet what he believed was a 13-year old girl for sex, Stewart was arrested on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013.
Stewart is charged with two counts of unlawful contact with a minor and one count of criminal use of a communication facility. Stewart was preliminarily arraigned in York County’s “Central Booking,” and will be prosecuted by Deputy Attorney General Christopher Jones of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit.
The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General extended its thanks to Springettsbury Township Police Department in York, PA for their assistance with the investigation.
According to the criminal complaint, Martin used an online chat room to engage in multiple conversations with what he believed was a teenage girl. During these conversations, Martin allegedly discussed in graphic detail the sex acts he wished to perform with the girl, and proposed meeting at a hotel for the purpose of sex.
Martin was taken into custody on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013 after he arrived at a predetermined meeting location in Lancaster County to meet what he believed was a 14-year old girl.
Martin is charged with four counts of unlawful contact with a minor and one count of criminal use of a communication facility. He was preliminarily arraigned before Lancaster Magisterial District Judge Cheryl Hartman. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. before Magisterial District Judge Mary Mongiovi Sponaugle.
The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General thanked the Manheim Township Police Department in Lancaster County, PA for their assistance with the investigation.
According to the criminal complaint, Belles used an online forum to contact an undercover agent, who was using the online identity of a single mother of a 13-year-old girl.
According to the criminal complaint, Belles contacted what he believed to be the woman's daughter and discussed in graphic detail the sex acts he wished to perform when they met.
Belles was arrested on Sunday, February 10 by agents from the Child Predator Unit, who were assisted by officers from the Cranberry Township Police Department.
He was preliminarily arraigned before Cranberry Township Magisterial District Judge Kovach, and transferred to Butler County Prison in lieu of $100,000 cash bond.
Belles is charged with one count of unlawful contact with a minor related to sexual offenses; one count of criminal attempt/involuntary deviate sexual intercourse; one count of criminal use of a communication facility; one count of unlawful contact with a minor (obscene and other sexual material and performances); and one count of criminal attempt/indecent assault.
The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General thanked the Cranberry Township and Evans City Police Departments for their assistance with the investigation. The case will be prosecuted in Butler County, PA by Deputy Attorney General Anthony Marmo of the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Child Predator Unit.
“I encourage parents to discuss online safety, and to also emphasize that children should always tell a trusted adult if someone tries to use the Internet to sexually proposition them, send them graphic photos and videos or attempt to arrange a face-to-face meeting,” said Kane.
To report a suspected Internet predator, please call 800-385-1044 or visit www.attorneygeneral.gov.