Anthony Merletto, the man who got caught last January after using a Facebook account to solicit a teenaged girl’s naked pictures, is now reportedly going to prison. Merletto was slapped with a 5-year sentence, but he must serve at least two years at a treatment center before eligibility for parole.
Merletto’s sentence has finally been made after almost six months since he was first caught back in January, with his sentence being passed out Friday, June 30. The judge sentenced him to spend five years in prison, after he made a guilty plea to child endangerment according to the a report by the Associated Press shared through the New York Daily News.
Details of the case indicate authorities first started investigation on Merletto back in September last year. Facebook allegedly contacted officials around that time, informing them that there was an account active in the Pemberton area that was engaging in the transfer of pornographic material involving minors.
As it turns out, Merletto did create a fake account on the social media site and used it to interact with other users. It is not known if the Pemberton resident took part in circles that discussed and exchanged child pornography and other explicit material, but it was confirmed that he did use his fake account to lure a 13-year-old girl into sending him nude pictures of herself.
The fictitious account apparently featured Merletto’s fake identity as a model, which could plausibly be used to solicit personal images from someone considering the field’s inclination towards physical aesthetics. With these details, it could be assumed that the young Texan native was interested in becoming a model only to unfortunately end up getting duped on the Internet.
Authorities eventually raided Merletto’s house in January 6 according to an earlier report shared through the Courier Post, where they seized his phone and allegedly found a number of pornographic material on his cellphone. The phone’s content reportedly featured both pornographic images and videos showing minors, indicating that the Pemberton resident could have had other sources.
Of the five-year sentence, two years must be served at a sex offender treatment center before he becomes eligible for parole according to NJ.com. The Woodbridge Department of Corrections’ Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center will be where Merletto will spend his sentence, although it is unknown if he will undergo the sex offender treatment at the same place or at a different facility.
[Featured Image by Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office]