Alleged sex predator seeks girl, gets jail
An Export man allegedly admitted to using the Wi-Fi system at a charter school where he worked in an attempt to arrange sex with a 14-year-old girl.
However, Theodore Mamel, 64, of 2872 Pierce St., actually was communicating online with an undercover police officer in Belle Vernon.
Mamel was charged Wednesday with two counts of unlawful contact with a minor and one count each of sexual abuse of children/dissemination of child pornography, sexual abuse of children, and criminal use of a communications facility in the commission of a felony, police reported.
He was arraigned in Fayette County Night Court and placed in the Fayette County Jail in lieu of $250,00 straight cash bond.
Southwest Regional Police Chief John Hartman said Mamel admitted that he worked for a public charter school – the Lincoln Park Center for the Performing Arts in Midland – and used its Wi-Fi system to send communications.
Mamel denied he had any communication with students in that school, where he repaired pianos.
Mamel allegedly said he used other Wi-Fi outlets, including at a McDonald's, for illegal communications.
Hartman said police confirmed Mamel's claims through search warrants executed on Internet records.
Hartman said police are continuing to investigate.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, Mamel posted a Jan. 8 ad on Craigslist titled, “Taboo Girls Wanted.” The ad indicated he was seeking “girls that want to try some taboo sex.”
On Jan. 9, Southwest Regional Police, responded to the online ad, posing as a 14-year-old girl.
From Jan. 14 through 16, Mamel allegedly spoke online with the officer he thought was a teenage girl, making sexually suggestive requests.
On Jan. 17, Mamel sent pornographic images of juveniles to the “teen,” according to the affidavit.
At one point, Mamel allegedly stated, “I'm old enough to be your grandfather.”
On Feb. 10, Mamel reportedly said he would like to meet the “girl” Wednesday or Thursday.
On Wednesday, Southwest Regional conducted surveillance on Main Street in Belle Vernon. Mamel's green Volkswagen circled a block of Main Street in Belle Vernon four times and was stopped by police in the 200 block of Main Street.
According to the affidavit, Hartman asked Mamel if he was communicating with a young girl from Belle Vernon, and the defendant nodded his head and said, “Can I have one of your guns so I can just shoot myself?”
Police seized a laptop in Mamel's car. The computer allegedly contained pornographic photographs that Mamel admitted he knew were of juveniles.
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or firstname.lastname@example.org.