Man arrested after soliciting teen in online chatroom

- The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office arrested a south Florida man after he traveled to Venice to meet a 16-year-old who was on vacation with family friends.

Deputies responded to the area of East Venice Avenue late Thursday night, for the report of a suspect hiding in a wooded area.

According to witnesses, the suspect travelled to Sarasota County to meet a 16-year-old girl who was in their care and on vacation from North Carolina.

According to the victim, she befriended 37-year-old John Mattaliano, in an online teen dating chatroom where he initially told her that he was 17 but later admitted he was 37.

Over the course of three months, Mattaliano sent the victim photos of his genitals using a cell phone he purchased and mailed to the 16-year-old. According to the victim, the cell phone was equipped with a location device that allowed Mattaliano to track her movements while on vacation.

Mattaliano, who lives in West Pam Beach, rented a U-Haul and travelled to Sarasota County where he made contact with the victim Thursday night.

The victim immediately told her caretakers who subsequently called deputies and upon their arrival, took Mattaliano into custody.

Mattaliano is charged with using a computer to solicit a child, traveling to meet a minor, and transmission of material harmful to minors by electronic device. He remains in custody Monday on $59,000 bond.
 

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