Kathleen G. Kane - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Protecting Pennsylvanians

April 25, 2014

Attorney General Kane participates in arrest of "traveling" child predator

HARRISBURG - Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane yesterday joined agents from the Office of Attorney General's Child Predator Section and other law enforcement officials to arrest one of two men who traveled to predetermined locations to meet what they believed were children for sex.4-25-14 AG Arrest Participation 366x244

"Child predators are lurking on the Internet and they are a real and dangerous threat to our children," Attorney General Kane said. "Younger children are accessing the Internet in more ways than ever before - through phones, tablets and PCs. Parents and adults need to be diligent and help teach children to identify predators' methods for online enticement."

The defendants are identified as Thomas Bannon, 45, 215 High Blvd., Apt. 204, Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County and Willie Deleon, 29, 1923 E. Congress St., Allentown, Lehigh County.

Thomas Bannon

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Thomas Bannon

Agents with the Office of Attorney General's Child Predator Section, who were conducting an undercover investigation of online advertisements relating to the sexual exploitation of minors, discovered a suspicious ad allegedly soliciting sex from young boys.
 
According to the criminal complaint, agents, posing as a 14-year-old boy, sent a message in response to the ad. Bannon allegedly responded and asked if the "boy" was "going to tell anyone if we hook up." As the conversations progressed, Bannon allegedly discussed in graphic detail the sex acts he wished to perform on the "boy."

The charges state that during subsequent conversations via email and text, Bannon sent graphic photos, which showed his exposed genitalia. Bannon allegedly expressed a desire to meet the child to perform oral and other sexual acts. He was taken into custody on April 23, 2014 when he arrived at a predetermined meeting location.

Bannon is charged with one count of criminal solicitation to commit involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, one count of criminal attempt to commit involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, one count of unlawful contact with a minor, one count of criminal attempt to commit statutory sexual assault with a child, one count of corruption of minors and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

Attorney General Kane thanked the Lackawanna County Detectives Special Victim's Unit and officers from the Scranton Police Department for their assistance with the investigation.

Bannon was placed in the Lackawanna County prison following his arrest and preliminary arraignment. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 30, 2014 before Magisterial District Judge John Mercuri.

Willie Deleon

According to the criminal complaint, Deleon used the Internet to sexually proposition what he believed was a teenage girl. The "girl" was actually an undercover agent from the Office of Attorney General's Child Predator Section conducting an online investigation into online advertisements that solicit sex from children.

The charges state that agents, posing as a teenage girl, responded to a sexually graphic online ad that Deleon posted. Deleon allegedly asked the "girl" for photos and quickly provided his cell phone number so that they could text. 

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Willie Deleon

Agents said that Deleon allegedly asked for additional "sexy" pictures via text and told the girl that he was "looking for a friend who wants to have sex."  As the conversation progressed Deleon emailed the "girl" a sexually graphic photo, which showed his exposed genitalia. Additionally, Deleon allegedly asked the "girl" to send him sexually graphic photographs and continually told her that he wanted to be "friends with benefits."

According to the criminal complaint, Deleon expressed his interest in meeting the "girl" for sex and told her that when they met, he wanted her to be wearing a thong and a short skirt. Deleon was arrested on Thursday, April 24, 2014 when he arrived at a predetermined meeting location. Attorney General Kane was with agents and local police and participated in the arrest. 
 
Deleon is charged with one count of criminal solicitation to commit involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, one count of criminal attempt to commit involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, one count of unlawful contact with a minor, one count of criminal attempt to commit statutory sexual assault with a child, one count of corruption of minors and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

Attorney General Kane thanked the Lackawanna County Detectives Special Victim's Unit, the Scranton Police Department Special Victim's Unit and the U.S. Marshals Service for their assistance with the investigation.

Both Bannon and Deleon will be prosecuted by Deputy Attorney General Rebecca Elo of the Attorney General's Child Predator Section.

Reporting Internet Predators

Suspected Internet predators can be reported to the Attorney General's Child Predator Section by calling the Child Predator Hotline at 1-800-385-1044. Internet safety tips are available on the "Operation Safe Surf" section of www.attorneygeneral.gov. Organizations interested in materials, speakers or presentations should contact the Attorney General's Education and Outreach Unit at 1-800-525-7642 or via email at education@attorneygeneral.gov.

(A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.)

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