Steven Schlesselman (Source: Effingham Co. Sheriff's Office)
EFFINGHAM CO., GA (WTOC) -
Effingham County Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie wants parents across the region to pay closer attention to what their children do online after a man came all the way from Arizona to Effingham County to meet who he thought was a 14-year-old girl.
"I just ask parents, please, please, please watch what your kids are doing on the internet," McDuffie said.
Steven Schlesselman, 45, of Maricopa County, Arizona, was arrested Sunday night and denied bond Tuesday morning. He remains in the Effingham County Jail.
"Effingham County sheriff's investigators are now working with officials in Arizona as well as ICE. Search warrants are being conducted at this time and additional charges are pending. It is common for sexual predators to travel to meet underage boys and girls for sex but it is not as common when they fly cross country, " said spokesman David Ehsanipoor in a statement.
Schlesselman solicited sex from whom he thought was a 14-year-old girl, but ended up being a member of the Effingham County Sheriff's Office Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, according to the sheriff's office
Schlesselman flew from Phoenix to Atlanta, where he landed at about 5 p.m. Sunday, then rented a vehicle from the airport and drove to Effingham County, according to the sheriff's office.
McDuffie says even if the child was not real, Schlesselman's intentions were real.
"That was a lot of expense to come here. He intended to have sex with a child," McDuffie said. "He was very explicit about what he wanted to do when he got here. He didn't hide many of his intentions."
Schlesselman was arrested while he was sitting in his rental car that was parked at a gas station on Ga.17 and Midland Road, which was the meeting place he had set up with the supposed teen, according to the sheriff's office.
He is charged with criminal attempt to commit child molestation and enticing a child for indecent purposes.
More charges could be pending as search warrants are executed in Arizona for his home, cell phone and computer.