CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Federal officials say a New York man traveled to Charlotte to meet a child for sex, and that he pushed for an April meeting due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Manuel Oppenheimer, 26, is charged with traveling across state lines for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity with a minor. He’s currently in federal custody.
Investigators say Oppenheimer met the teen on the chat website Omegle before talking to her on Snapchat.
He wanted to meet her in April, the federal complaint alleges, because otherwise it was possible their meeting would be delayed up to a year until the COVID-19 outbreak was over.
Officers received information about a missing teen, and located her at a home with Oppenheimer April 16.
Oppenheimer was then arrested.
“The internet has been an essential tool during the COVID-19 outbreak, helping children continue their studies through remote learning and stay connected with teachers, classmates, friends and family through social media and other apps,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray. “However, more unmonitored screen time can lead to an increased risk of exposure to all the dangers that lurk on the internet, including child predators who leverage social media to target and exploit innocent children.”
The arrest was part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat child sexual exploitation.