3 men face charges for luring victims with computers
Authorities this week said a Michigan man and two from Florida face charges for using computers and other technology to lure or track crime victims — including minors.
A high school volleyball coach was charged Thursday at 41-B District Court in Clinton Township with child sexually abusive activity and using a computer to commit a crime.
Also Thursday, a Jacksonville, Florida, man, pleaded guilty to extortion and possession of child pornography, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade announced.
Meanwhile, another Florida man faces child pornography and cyberstalking charges for seeking sexually explicit images from a teen, federal authorities allege in a criminal complaint ordered unsealed Wednesday in U.S. District Court.
The first case centers around Charles Edward Goubert, 53, of Emmett in St. Clair County. Undercover detectives said they conversed with the Yale High School assistant coach via email and texts after responding to an ad posted on a website, the Macomb County Sheriff's Office said.
Officials allege he was trying to meet with a 13-year-old girl for sexual acts. Detectives arranged to meet Goubert; when he showed up, he was arrested and taken to the Macomb County Jail.
Goubert was charged with three counts of child sexually abusive activity. Each felony carries a 20-year sentence. He also was charged with three felony counts of computers-communicating with another to commit crime. Each carries a 15-year sentence. His bond is $100,000.
Computers and a teen girl also were the focus of accusations against Bruce William Powell of Tallahassee, Florida, who was tracked there this week in FBI surveillance, according to the criminal complaint. He was arrested Wednesday and had a detention hearing in Florida, said Gina Balaya, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit. A judge ordered Powell held until his removal to Michigan, expected within two weeks, she said.
A teen, now 18, contacted authorities last month. The complaint says the alleged offenses happened in Monroe County and elsewhere between 2009 and Oct. 12.
She began communicating online with the suspect as a 13-year-old and sent him naked pictures, according to the complaint. The teen started receiving texts from a stranger — whom authorities allege was Powell — demanding more photos, according to the complaint. "Scared and intimidated," the girl complied and for about 18 months "took nude photographs of herself every other day and forwarded them," the complaint said.
The requests resumed her sophomore year of high school, authorities said. Another stranger — whom authorities allege was also the suspect — also texted her, demanding photos with "sexual items" sent to her home, according to the complaint.
This year, the teen received an email demanding a response or her nude photos would be posted online, according to the complaint. She didn't immediately respond but "located approximately 30 nude images of herself on pornographic websites," the complaint read. The teen emailed the address, which authorities tracked to the suspect, and asked the user to remove the pictures, but he responded that would only happen if she "was to have continual contact with him and provide additional explicit photographs," court documents show.
When the teen begged him to leave her alone and mentioned she'd sought therapy and attempted suicide, the suspect accused her of lying "about so many things," and acknowledged he was aware of her underage status when the explicit photos were taken, according to the emails in the complaint.
"And you're fine with that? Exploiting the body of a 14-year-old girl," the teen wrote. The reply: "You aren't 14 anymore."
Last month, the suspect threatened to leak her identity, the complaint read.
On Sept. 24, a judge signed a federal search warrant, which recovered 332 emails with pictures or videos of the teen.
"Parents and teachers should talk to young people about the dangers of the Internet," McQuade said in a statement. "When you share private information and photos online with strangers, you lose control over them forever."
Text messages also led to the arrest of Syed Ibrahim Hussain in April 2013. While staying in Metro area hotels, he "sent text messages to a woman demanding that she marry him or he would kidnap, rape, strangle and burn her," the U.S. Attorney's Office said. Authorities learned Hussain "was electronically tracking the woman using global positioning system trackers he had secretly placed on her car."
"With today's technology, determined stalkers have the ability to constantly communicate with and locate their victims," McQuade said.
Under a plea agreement announced Thursday, Hussain, 34, will serve 63-78 months in prison, register as a sex offender and be fined up to $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 24.