:: The Bristol Press – Alleged child predator arrested ::

Alleged child predator arrested

By: Lisa Backus, Special to The Bristol Press

WATERBURY – Federal authorities said they arrested a 39-year-old Bristol man Friday on charges that he used the Internet to lure a person he believed to be a 13-ye r-old girl to meet him for sex. The “13-year-old girl” was actually a Waterbury police offi er working with the Connecticut Computer Crimes Task Force.

A spokesperson for U.S. Attorney Kevin O’Connor said Scott Lape, 39, of 103 Partridge Lane, Bristol, was arrested Friday when he arrived at a prearranged meeting place in Waterbury after having several online conversations with “a 13-year-old girl.”
In an affidavit for his arrest, members of the task force said Lape, who is deaf, repeatedly had online conversations with someone who he believed was a 13-year-old that eventually led to him asking for a face-to-face meeting for a sexual encounter Friday.

Police officers said Lape arrived for the meeting at a Waterbury park with his truck loaded with sex toys, towels, lingerie, a digital camera, a tripod and lubricants.
In the affidavit, Lape asked the “girl” if she wanted to learn how to have sex, touch his genitals, play with his sex toys and perform specific sexual acts with him.
Officers also found a handwritten note in Lape’s truck stating the 13-year-old “will call me daddy.”

Task force members said they had repeated online conversations with Lape beginning in early 2007. The task force is made up of federal, state and local law enforcement officers and investigates a variety of computer crimes including those that involve online crimes against children.

In March Tim Egan, supervisory special agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Cyber Crime Squad in New Haven, said the task force has been working non-stop to catch online predators since the group’s inception.

Egan said his office prosecutes 20 to 30 offenders in Connecticut per year. Egan said about half are arrested for possessing or dealing in child pornography and the other half are online predators who have arranged online to meet officers posing as children in Connecticut.

“It’s so vast that we have to stick to those who potentially would abuse a child by arranging an actual meeting,” Egan said. “We have federal, state and local law enforcement officials on the task force working together and it’s nonstop.”
Farmington police have made three similar arrests since the end of February. O’Connor said federal cases such as Lape’s will be actively prosecuted and the punishments for online crimes against children have been toughened.

“Under the Adam Walsh Protection Act, which the president signed into law this year, the mandatory minimum penalties for using the Internet to persuade a minor to engage in sex were doubled,” O’Connor said. “This message cannot be delivered loudly or strongly enough. If you use the Internet with the intent to prey on children, you risk spending the next 10 years of your life in a federal prison.”

Federal authorities said Lape was detained pending a detention hearing set for May 2. If convicted of the charge of using the Internet to persuade a minor to engage in sexual activity, Lape could face a mandatory minimum 10-year prison term, a maximum term of imprisonment of life, a period of supervised release for as long as life and a fine of up to $250,000.

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