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Thursday, Mar 22, 2018
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St. Pete man accused of trying to lure teen into sex

A St. Petersburg man is facing federal charges after trying to lure a teenage girl into sex, U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III said today.

Robert Jay Berman, 64, has been charged with attempted persuasion, inducement, enticement or coercion of a minor to engage in sexual activity. If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years or up to life in federal prison, Bentley said.

Berman made his initial appearance in federal court today and was ordered detained. A bond hearing is set for Tuesday.

According to the criminal complaint, beginning in February, Berman engaged sexually explicit online chats with a person whom Berman thought was a 14-year-old girl but was in fact an undercover agent.

He was arrested Thursday after making arrangements to meet the girl at a public location, Bentley said.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the St. Petersburg Police Department.

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St. Pete man accused of trying to lure teen into sex