Butler man accused of having online sexual relationship with Texas girl
A 42-year-old Butler man allegedly used several social media accounts and platforms to carry on an online sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl in Texas, according to state police.
State police arrested Anthony Joseph Smith on Friday morning at his Virginia Avenue home in Butler, where they also executed a search warrant.
According to a criminal complaint, when police interviewed Smith he admitted to sending sexually explicit images of himself to the girl in El Paso while knowing her age. He also allegedly admitted to encouraging the girl to send nude images of herself to him and to seek emancipation from her parents so that she would travel to Pennsylvania to be with him.
According to the complaint, state police received a tip in early September that the El Paso Police Department had received a report of a man in Butler who had been chatting online with a 14-year-old girl in their city.
In an interview, the girl’s mother told state police her daughter first met Smith using a social media application called “7 Cups.” Smith allegedly had claimed he was a 15-year-old boy.
The mother said Smith and her daughter began to communicate on other social media platforms including Pinterest, Instagram, Textnow and others. They also spoke on the phone, and there had been at least 80 calls between July 16 and Aug. 26. The girl’s mother said the conversations “often turned sexually explicit.”
The mother said that Smith “encouraged the victim to engage in a sexually explicit relationship with him that included sexualized chatting and texting,” the complaint states. The mother said Smith also sent at least one sexually explicit video.
Smith eventually admitted his real age to the girl, and that he was “completely aware” that she was 14 and asked her to seek emancipation from her parents so they could be together.
“Smith admitted that he was fully aware that the victim was 14 years old and he stated that he understood that the relationship was wrong and illegal,” the complaint states.
Smith was arraigned Friday on charges of unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of minors, sexual abuse of children and interference with custody of children. He was placed in the Butler County Jail after being unable to post $50,000 bail.
He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing at 11 a.m. Nov. 5 before District Judge William T. Fullerton.