A Missouri man was arrested and charged with several counts including Rape and Sodomy in Owensboro on Monday after the police department says he met up with an underaged girl who he contacted through social media.
According to the Owensboro Police Department, officers responded to Owensboro Health Regional Hospital around 11:30 a.m. on Monday for a reported juvenile sexual assault.
OPD says detectives determined the 14-year-old victim had been contacted by the suspect, 53-year-old Christopher R. Bertolett of Ballwin, Missouri, which is in the St. Louis area.
The juvenile detective on the case said the two were in communication for a while and that the teen was aware Bertolett was the person she was speaking with.
"His profile picture was of him, he told her how old he was, he told her who he was so the account wasn't a catfish account," Detective Joshua Alsip said. "Usually the catfish accounts, they try to put younger individuals on there, they lie about their age -- this one he depicted who he was."
Based on the investigation, OPD says it's believed that Bertolett traveled to Owensboro with the intent to engage in a sexual encounter with the juvenile at a local hotel.
When Bertolett was found by officers, they say he was in the process of checking out of the hotel and leaving Owensboro.
“I always caution parents to pay attention to what their kids are doing in their social media apps. It’s always alarming, it never gets easier, it never ceases to amaze me," Alsip said. "But it is a trend that’s going on on social media when one app goes away, another one comes up. It’s always going to be a trend and probably going to be more frequent in time.”
Bertolett was arrested and initially charged with 3rd Degree Rape and three counts of 3rd Degree Sodomy. He has received additional charges of 14 Counts of Use of a Minor (U/16) in a Sex Performance and 1 Count of Prohibited use of Electronic Communication Systems to Procure a Minor for Sex Offenses.
After a search warrant was obtained, detectives found evidence on Bertolett’s cell phone portraying the teen girl in a sexual manner.
He remains in the Daviess County Jail on a $50,000 full-cash bond. He's scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday, May 12.