A 56-year-old man who referred to himself as "dirty old Santa" has been arrested for attempting to lure a 14-year-old girl into sex.
Pennsylvania's Delaware County Criminal Investigation Division Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Ridley Township Police Department worked together to orchestrate an undercover investigation to confirm William McKinlay's intention to have sex with minors, according to WPIX.
A Ridley Township police officer posed as a 14-year-old girl, "Stephanie," and responded to McKinlay's ad on a website titled "young’uns — m4w (NE)."
"Stephanie" and McKinlay began exchanging messages. Once "she" confirmed that she was 14, the conversation quickly turned sexual.
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McKinlay sent sexually explicit messages to the officer over the course of a month, referring to himself as "dirty old Santa." He told her that he yearned to see her naked and how he would teach her how to have sex. He also sent a number of graphic photos of himself.
On June 12, McKinlay and "Stephanie" set up a time to meet in person at an ice cream store in Ridley Township on June 21. He told her to wear as few clothes as possible, requesting that she arrive in a sleeveless T-shirt, shorts, sneakers and nothing else.
On June 21, McKinlay arrived at the meeting point and was met by the undercover officer and a number of other law enforcement officials. He was taken into custody and remanded to Delaware County Prison when he failed to post bail, which was set at $25,000.
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McKinlay was a seasonal employee at Macy's department store in Philadelphia, although officials would not confirm his exact position, reports WPVI. McKinlay's Facebook account shows him as a Santa at Macy's Santaland.
He faces multiple charges, including criminal use of a communications facility, attempted statutory sexual assault and solicitation, and attempted involuntary indecent sexual intercourse. If convicted, he could become a registered sex offender for life.
"The allegations against McKinlay are a reminder to parents of the need to be vigilant in protecting children from those who relentlessly prey upon them on the Internet," Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan told The Philadelphia Inquirer.
McKinlay has a history of sending inappropriate images over the internet. In January, he pleaded guilty to harassment by lewd communication and unlawful dissemination of intimate images.
He was sentenced to probation after taking compromising photos and videos of a married woman with whom he had sex. The woman did not know he had taken the pictures and had not consented to them.