Queens Man Charged with Transporting 13-Year-Old Child to Engage in Sex
A six-count indictment was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging Manuel Moretti with Mann Act crimes stemming from the coercion of a 13-year-old child to engage in sexual activity with him on at least four occasions. Moretti was arrested today and is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Vera M. Scanlon.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Direct-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), announced the arrest and charges.
“As alleged, for several months last year, Moretti used different social media platforms to lure a 13-year-old child across state lines for the purpose of repeatedly engaging in sexual activity. These allegations serve as a reminder of the dangers to our children from online predators and the importance of being aware of whom our children are communicating with online,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “This Office is deeply committed to protecting vulnerable victims from sexual exploitation and will vigorously prosecute offenders like Moretti, who allegedly prey on children.”
“Cyber space may not seem real to some children, or even parents, but it poses a real danger as we allege in this investigation,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Driscoll. “Unfortunately, we can’t stop these crimes from happening because the internet allows sexual predators direct access to victims. We’re asking parents to start a conversation with their children about being safe online. The FBI New York Crimes Against Children and Human Trafficking Task Force believes Mr. Moretti may have victimized others and we’re asking anyone with information to call us at 1-800-CALL-FBI.”
As set forth in the indictment and court filings, Moretti met a 13-year-old child on a social networking site in January of last year. He then arranged for the child to travel across state lines to Moretti’s residence in Queens on several occasions over a four-month period between January and April 2021 for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity. Moretti also provided the child a fraudulent identification document to facilitate future sexual encounters with the child. In December 2021, after Moretti was interviewed by the FBI, he contacted the child, this time via Snapchat, a different social networking site, for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity.
The charges in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
If convicted of all counts, Moretti faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment.
Assistant United States Attorney Margaret Schierberl is in charge of the prosecution.
Forest Hills, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 22-CR-17 (SJ)