Police arrested a Palm Harbor man Monday in connection to several online sex crimes with minor female children, according to the Tarpon Springs Police Department.
Charles Eric Dudley, 25, was arrested on five counts of transmission of harmful materials to a minor, a third-degree felony, after an eight-month investigation dealing with his interactions with children in the Tarpon Springs area.
According to Tarpon Springs police, an investigation of Dudley began last August after the mother of a 13-year-old female filed an initial report. Dudley later made contact with an undercover detective posing as a 13-year-old online, police say, and sent five explicit photographs, claiming they were of him.
Detectives say Dudley was aware the child profiled by the agent was 13, and on several occasions stated he preferred girls of that age. Dudley also allegedly expressed a desire to have sex with the online teen.
After Dudley's arrest, police say, he fully confessed to the charges, saying he created a fake Facebook account and sent explicit nude photographs to whom he thought was a 13 -year-old. He then traveled to Anderson Park in Tarpon Springs with a minor in his custody, and was apprehended and arrested.
Detectives say the investigation revealed that Dudley possibly targeted multiple female juveniles throughout Pinellas and Pasco counties.