Austrian man traveled to Florida for sex with teen, deputies say

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An 18-year-old man is accused of traveling thousands of miles from another country to have sex with a teenager in Florida.

Detectives with the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office said it started as a chat online in September 2017. 
The pair used a social media app platform called Discord before switching over to SnapChat. 

The pair exchanged photos and videos. After three months of conversations, they said they were in a "dating relationship," according to an arrest affidavit. 

Criminal Investigations Sergeant Gerardo Carrillo said 18-year-old Leo Simetzberger booked a flight and rented an Airbnb in Venice for some real face time.

"They had been talking since September. They finally decided it was time for them to meet," said Sgt. Carrillo. 

On Monday morning, the 15-year-old's mother called Sarasota County deputies to report her daughter was missing. Investigators issued an alert and the teen was quickly located. 

She told detectives that Simetzberger came to the U.S. to be with her. While they were at the rented property, there was sexual activity between the two, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.

Sgt. Carrillo said Simetzberger did research and knew that the girl was only 15 years old. 

"He actually Googled the age of consent and what sexual battery consisted and what age. He believed it was OK." 

Simetzberger was arrested and faces a charge of lewd and lascivious battery. A judge set his bond at $20,000, but if he bonds out, he cannot leave the area, have any contact with the girl, or use the internet. 

Detectives said additional charges could be coming. 

Sgt. Carrillo said this is a wake-up call to parents. They should keep an eye on and closely monitor children's online activity. 

"Know their apps on their phones, monitor their computer use, their cell phones," he warned.