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Former deputy faces federal underage sex charges

May 14, 2020 GMT

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A former Florida deputy accused of having sex with a 15-year-old girl is facing federal charges, authorities said.

Former Clay County deputy Travis Ryan Pritchard, 36, was arrested earlier this month by Green Cove Springs police, and federal prosecutors filed charges against him Monday of online enticement of a minor and attempted online enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity. Green Cove Springs is located just south of Jacksonville.

Pritchard began communicating with the girl through an online chat application in December after meeting her several months earlier at a convenience store, according to a criminal complaint. The two exchanged explicit photos and eventually began having sex on a weekly basis, with Pritchard sneaking into her home after her parents went to sleep, investigators said.

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The girl’s mother contacted Green Cove Springs police last month to report her teenage daughter was having sex with an adult man. A detective took over the girl’s chat account and continued to exchange messages with Pritchard, officials said. They made arrangements to meet at the girl’s home the night of May 1. The complaint said Pritchard arrived at her home in his patrol vehicle early May 2 and was arrested a short time later.

Pritchard’s attorney didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.