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New Kensington man, 40, faces attempted child sex charges

April 6, 2018 GMT

A New Kensington man is headed to court on charges he tried to have sexual contact with a minor he met online.

Bradley Aaron McAninch, 40, is charged with felony counts of unlawful contact with a minor for sexual offenses and corruption of minors.

The charges stem from Jan. 10, when according to court documents, New Kensington police were called for a report of a 15-year-old boy “being a victim of sexual advancement.”

Police say they found the boy injured from having fled McAninch’s home.

Further investigation revealed that the boy and McAninch had met on the online dating site, Grindr. Police say the pair exchanged nude photographs and made arrangements to meet.

At a preliminary hearing Tuesday before District Judge Cheryl Yakopec, the child testified that he met McAninch in another town then drove to New Kensington.

During the ride, the child testified, there was little talk and he began to grow scared. He asked McAninch if the man planned to rape him. He testified that McAninch told him that he would not.

When they arrived at McAninch’s home, the boy testified the man’s dog was let out and that he fled, not from McAninch, but from the dog. He went to a nearby house and called 911, police say.

McAninch’s lawyer, Chris Urbano, argued that the charges against his client are unreasonable, saying McAninch never had any indication the person he was meeting was underage.

The victim, when asked by Urbano, said it was a very dark night when he met McAninch and that at no point did either person step into a well lit area.

Further, the website Grindr is supposed to be an exclusively adult dating site that requires users to verify they are of legal adult age, Urbano said.

The victim testified that he had indicated he was 18 years old when signing up for the website despite being 15.

The victim also testified that he never indicated to McAninch he was underage. He also testified that McAninch never attempted to force or coerce him into sexual contact or touch him in anyway.

However, Assistant District Attorney Peter Caravello said the fact McAninch didn’t know the boy was a minor doesn’t enter into the state’s consideration, which Caravello said indicates McAninch should be charged as a felon.

Yakopec said whether the circumstances of that night prove McAninch committed a crime or not would best be decided by a Westmoreland County Court jury.

She held the charges against him for court.

McAninch is free on bond pending a formal arraignment scheduled for May 30.

Matthew Medsger is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4675, mmedsger@tribweb.com or via Twitter @matthew_medsger.