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Online sex trap snares man

Authorities pretend to be teen girls on a message system and encounter a Pasco man.

By THOMAS LAKE
Published February 2, 2007


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NEW PORT RICHEY - Five words may put Matthew Sly in prison. They are in chapter 800.04 of the Florida Statutes, on the fifth line of section 7b(3). They are not a complete sentence.

"...or has reason to believe..."

Upon these words the detectives built their trap.

Sly is 25 and married and lives at 6921 Ian Court in New Port Richey. He is a clerk. Late last fall, according to the Martin County Sheriff's Office, he logged on to Yahoo Instant Messenger under the screen name mcjmccormick.

There he encountered a user who claimed to be an underage girl, the report said.

"Do u care that im 14?" she asked.

"According to the 'LAW' I should," Sly wrote, the report said. "But I don't see u as a number."

The talk turned sexual, the report said. Sly turned on a video camera, the report said and masturbated as the images were beamed through cyberspace.

He did it twice that day, the report said, for two different people he thought were 14-year-old girls. Both were Martin County sheriff's detectives.

They sent a subpoena to Yahoo requesting subscriber information for mcjmccormick. It came back registered to Sly. They got his address from Bright House Networks, and on Jan. 22 they paid him a visit.

He admitted to masturbating in view of the users in question, the report said. The detectives obtained an arrest warrant. Sly was arrested by a Pasco sheriff's deputy Wednesday on a charge of lewd or lascivious exhibition.

He was held at the Land O'Lakes jail on Thursday in lieu of $25,000 bail. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.

Here's where those five words come in. It is a crime in Florida for an adult to expose himself via cyberspace to anyone under 16.

The detectives were not under 16, but that doesn't matter. In the eyes of the law, reason to believe is enough.

Thomas Lake can be reached at tlake@sptimes.com or 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6245.

[Last modified February 2, 2007, 00:03:14]


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