Prince George's man arrested in FBI sting on the Internet Suspect contacted agent who was posing as 12-year-old girl

August 05, 1998|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A Prince George's County man who was lured to The Mall in Washington yesterday to meet a 12-year-old girl was arrested by FBI agents who had set up an Internet sting.

Nathaniel Starrels, 41, of the first block of Laurel Hill Road in Greenbelt, was charged with traveling in interstate commerce for the purposes of engaging in a sexual act with a minor.

He was arraigned in U.S. District Court in Washington, but prosecutors said he is scheduled to have a detention hearing in Baltimore this week or early next week.

Starrels, who remains in custody in Washington, could not be reached for comment yesterday. No one answered phones call to his house, and police said he did not have a lawyer at his initial court appearance.

Special Agent David R. Knowlton, who is in charge of the Baltimore FBI office, said one of his investigators had made contact with a man who was seeking sex from a 12-year-old girl several weeks ago.

The agent posed on the Internet as the girl, and they agreed to meet yesterday morning on The Mall, outside one of the Smithsonian museums. He is the 195th person in the nation arrested under the FBI's "Innocent Images" campaign, which is coordinated out of the Baltimore office.

Few details on the case were released yesterday, but court documents filed in Washington say that Starrels applied for at least three jobs at child care centers in Prince George's County in the early 1990s.

The documents do not say whether Starrels was hired or what type of jobs he was seeking, and company representatives could not be reached for comment yesterday evening.

Court papers say investigators learned that the suspect had sought the jobs because the employers had requested criminal background checks from the FBI, which is standard for anyone seeking jobs in the child care industry.

The requests were made in 1991, 1992 and 1993. The employers included the Tri-County Alternatives for Youth based in Greenbelt, a Baptist church group and a child care center run by the city of Greenbelt.

Pub Date: 8/05/98

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