ShareThis Page

Man accused of having sex with girl, 13

| Friday, Aug. 4, 2006, 12:00 p.m.

An Illinois man accused of having sex with a 13-year-old Pittsburgh girl he met on the Internet was talked into surrendering by a smooth-talking city police detective who called him on his cell phone, police said Thursday.

Police were tracking the intermittent signals emitted by the man's cell phone, first in the Hill District and then Downtown, but they couldn't pinpoint his location. So Detective Kimberly Braddick decided to call him.

"You just choose your words carefully, and I told him that if he ran it would be a bigger mess than it already is," Braddick said. "I'm glad he decided to do the right thing."

Kevin Van Gorden, 23, of Westchester, Ill., a Chicago suburb, surrendered Wednesday night at police headquarters on the North Side.

"It was good work on her part," said police Cmdr. Thomas Stangrecki, who oversees the city's Major Crime Unit detectives. "It's good when you can merge technology and good investigative skills and arrest a suspect."

Van Gorden met the girl in an Internet chat room about six weeks ago, and they communicated regularly before he decided to come to Pittsburgh to meet her, Stangrecki said.

The girl's parents found out about the tryst and told police, who secured a warrant for Van Gorden's arrest on charges of statutory sexual assault and corruption of a minor. That's also when they got his cell phone number and discovered the phone contained a global positioning system.

Van Gorden was staying at a motel outside of Pittsburgh when Braddick called him. He was reluctant to talk at first, the detective said.

Pittsburgh police also are working with the FBI to investigate whether Van Gorden had contact with other underage girls.

Van Gorden was awaiting arraignment last night in Pittsburgh Municipal Court.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me