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Ohio man travels across country to have sex with Lancaster teen

October 4, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A man from Westerville, Ohio was charged with five felony counts of lewd acts with a child Thursday after allegedly sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl he met on Facebook six months ago.

The suspect, 43-year-old Michael Scheetz, is accused of traveling across the country on a Greyhound bus to have sex with the Lancaster teen.

The girl was reported missing on Sunday night. While investigating her disappearance, Lancaster detectives obtained information that led them to believe she had runaway from home to meet up with an adult male from Ohio, according L.A. Sheriff's Sgt. Brian Hudson.

Deputies spotted Scheetz on a sidewalk in Lancaster Monday morning and took him into custody. During questioning, Scheetz initially denied knowing the whereabouts of the victim, but eventually led detectives to a field east of 15th Street West, where the girl was found lying on the ground. She was taken to a local hospital and is in good condition.

Investigators say the girl told them that she had been sexually assaulted by Scheetz. She also told detectives that the two met on Facebook about six months ago, developed an online relationship via Facebook and email, and had arranged to meet.

Scheetz, who left Ohio on Friday, knew the victim was underage, but it was not a deterrent, police said.

The former banker was arrested and booked at the Lancaster Sheriff's Station. His bail was set at $1.27 million.

Detectives are warning parents to be aware of what their children are doing on the Internet.

"Parents just need to remember if they allow their children to access the Internet, especially say in a closed bedroom, they're allowing strangers into their child's life," said Hudson.

Many parents are concerned.

"It's a scary world we're living in and it's getting smaller and smaller due to the technology. We have to be very careful," said Littlerock resident Lorrie Duffy.

Anyone with information regarding this alleged crime was urged to call detectives at (661) 940-8750 or Crimestoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.


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