Monday, May 19, 2008

MySpace Suspect Sent To Jail


A 39-year-old Pennsylvania father tearfully pleaded not guilty Friday to traveling across state lines to engage in sexual conduct with a 14-year-old Oxford girl he met on MySpace.com.

Stephen M. Letavec of Elrama, Pa., entered the pleas on the advice of his lawyer, Assistant U.S. Public Defender Deirdre Murray, during proceedings before U.S. Magistrate Judge William I. Garfinkel.

Garfinkel granted Assistant U.S. Attorney James K. Filan's request to delay any hearing on Letavec's release on bond for the time being.

"This is a very, very difficult case for release," said Garfinkel. Letavec, wearing a gray pinstripe suit, was escorted into the courtroom by Deputy Assistant U.S. Marshals James Masterson and Anthony Iaquinto.

He stands about 5 feet 10 inches tall, has neatly trimmed long black hair and wears a beard. As the deputy marshals took him away, Letavec turned to take one last look at his wife, their teenage daughter and nearly teenage son. He was sobbing quietly.

The family traveled nine hours from Pennsylvania.

Garfinkel suggested the family meet with U.S. Probation Department officials and supply "as much information as possible"

to help him make his decision.

Letavec has been indicted for using the Internet to entice a minor into sexual activity, which carries a minimum five-year sentence and a maximum of 30 years. He also is charged with three counts of interstate travel for the purpose of engaging in illicit sex with a minor, which carries a 30-year sentence.

He has been in custody since his arrest in Pennslyvania in February. The teenage girl's mother and a girlfriend met Letavec and even welcomed him into their homes.

The girlfriend's mother allegedly allowed him to spend 13 hours with the alleged victim and her daughter in their home while the mother wasn't there, according to court documents.

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