NORRISTOWN, Pa. | A Perkasie man is facing charges for allegedly sexually assaulting a minor he met in an online chat room, authorities say.
Jonathan Faucette, 55, was charged with felony statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, corruption of minors and more in the assault of a 15-year-old girl, according to the Montgomery County district attorney's office and New Hanover Township police.
The investigation started on May 18, when New Hanover Township police say they received a ChildLine report by a mandated reporter that a girl had disclosed a sexual encounter with an older, married man.
The ensuing investigation found that the defendant and the girl had met through the online chat and video platform, Omegle, the DA's office said. Police say the pair then began messaging through Instagram.
After messaging for a week, they agreed to meet at a New Hanover Township park on May 7, where the defendant allegedly spread a blue blanket in an adjacent wooded area and then sexually assaulted the girl.
Investigators say search warrants and IP addresses linked the Instagram account to Faucette's home in Perkasie.
A search of the defendant’s home and car found a blue blanket and other evidence consistent with the victim’s account of assault, authorities stated.
Faucette admitted to the assault in an interview with investigators, authorities say, and he also described a similar pattern of meeting teenage girls on Omegle, then meeting up with them for sex, as far back as 2011. He said those encounters happened in several states, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Virginia, according to police paperwork.
“The online world is a serious threat to young girls and boys since its anonymity makes it attractive to sexual predators. This defendant was preying on young girls on a website/app called Omegle, which markets itself as ‘Talk to Strangers! There are some very cool people in the world,'” said DA Steele.
“Omegle has come under fire before for not verifying the ages of any user or monitoring the communications on its platform as it matches users with random strangers to have one-on-one chats," he continued. "Parents need to make sure they talk to their kids about the dangers in using this kind of a platform, how people can lie about who they are and above all, the danger of meeting someone in real life who they have only talked to online. Stranger danger is real online.”
Faucette was arraigned, police records indicate, and bail was set at $500,000 cash, with additional conditions of no contact with victim, no contact with juveniles and no internet usage.
The defendant was unable to post bail and was remanded to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility, authorities say.