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Internet Safety

Sailors charged in underage sex

Two men are accused of meeting girls on the Internet and then having sex with one of them, who is 12.

BROOKSVILLE - Two U.S. Navy mechanics were arrested at their base in Jacksonville after they were accused of inappropriately touching two Hernando County girls they met on the Internet and later having sex with one of them, authorities said.

The seamen, William Boyd Brown III and Miguel I. Vidal, both 20, were taken into custody at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville after the Sheriff's Office issued a warrant for their arrest Tuesday, said sheriff's spokesman Lt. Joseph Paez.

Detectives began investigating the alleged incident Sept. 12 after one of the victim's mothers found out her 12-year-old daughter had spent the night at a local hotel with Vidal and warned him that she had notified the authorities, Paez said.

During the investigation, detectives learned that Vidal and Brown corresponded with one of the girls on a Web site chat room dedicated to teens between the ages of 13 and 19 and planned to meet after chatting on the Internet for six weeks, according to the sheriff's report. They were planning this on the Internet for six weeks and the parents didn't have a clue. What a nightmare.

Vidal and Brown traveled from Jacksonville on Sept. 6 and picked up the 12-year-old and two of her friends about 11 p.m. at Beacon Theatres - a teenage hangout at Western Way Plaza on Cortez Boulevard, the report said. What is a 12-year-old doing out at that time of night?

The two men then checked into a room at the Comfort Inn, 9373 Cortez Blvd., by using military identification and a credit card, the report said. There, it is believed that both Vidal and Brown fondled the breasts of two of the girls.

The girls' names are being withheld by authorities because of their ages.

Six days later, both men returned to meet with the girls again. This time, they rented a room at the Hampton Inn, I-75 and State Road 50, the report said.

During the meeting, authorities said that Brown fondled one of the girls and had sex with her, even after she allegedly told him that she was 12 years old.
Paez said the girl had initially told Brown she was 14.

"Parents need to be aware of their children's Internet activity because this is how they first made contact," Paez said. "It could have been worse, but fortunately one of the parents found out about it and contacted the Sheriff's Office." They could have found out about it sooner if they had a computer monitoring program running on the computer.

Both suspects were being held at Duval County Jail on Friday, where they face charges on lewd and lascivious molestation, a first-degree felony. Brown was also charged with lewd and lascivious battery. He was being held on $30,000 bail. Vidal was being held on $15,000 bail.

Paez said that they could also face military charges because the alleged incident occurred during their service.

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