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Ex-Florida deputy indicted on federal underage sex charges

May 27, 2020 GMT

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

A federal grand jury in Jacksonville charged former Clay County deputy Travis Ryan Pritchard, 36, last week with online enticement of a minor and attempted online enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity. He faces a possible life sentence.

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 Green Grove Springs home after her parents went to sleep, investigators said. Green Cove Springs is located just south of Jacksonville.

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The girl’s mother contacted 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 previously declined to comment.