A 31-year-old subway conductor was busted on Thursday for sending sexually explicit messages and attempting to meet with whom he believed to be a 14-year-old girl on the internet. The person on the other side of the IM screen turned out to be an undercover cop, and Louis Velez was arrested when he showed up to meet with his underage lover. Queens DA Richard Brown said in a statement, "For all its good, the Internet is also an open door to your home which allows sexual predators easy access to your children. Once a predator believes he has found a vulnerable target, he can move with surprising speed - as this case frighteningly illustrates."
Using the screen name waiting4uma, Velez allegedly send explicit messages to an undercover NYPD vice detective posing as a 14-year-old from Queens, and even sent photos of his genitals. In his last message, Velez said he got off work at 3 p.m. and would be able to meet her after school around 4 p.m. He was arrested after showing up at the pre-arranged meeting place, talking to an undercover officer, and then walking to a gas station to buy condoms.
Velez was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on Thursday night, and charged with attempted use of a child in a sexual performance and second-degree attempted rape, among other things. He is being held on $60,000 bail and faces seven years in prison if convicted. The DA said, "This case yet again underscores the crucial importance of Internet surveillance initiatives by law enforcement to protect children from sexual predators and should serve as a warning to parents to closely monitor their children’s Internet access and activities." Facebook ban, anyone?