Media, Delaware County, PA — Today, Delaware County’s District Attorney announced the arrest of ten people as a result of an undercover sting operation focused on child predators. The arrests come after a month-long investigation, during National Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month.

“These defendants actively sought out and targeted juveniles, attempting to prey upon our youth, for their own warped sexual gratification. That is the very definition of predatory behavior,” said Delco District Attorney Katayoun M. Copeland..  

The sting operation had Task Force police officers from multiple police departments posing as juveniles on the internet.  Some of the alleged perpetrators used social media applications to interact with the officers that were posing as young females between 12 and 14 years of age and a young male age 15.   

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The oldest man arrested is a 54-year-old man from Trainer in Delaware County.  The youngest man arrested was 22 years old from Essington also in Delco.

Defendants were from Norristown and Hatfield in Montgomery County, PA. Other defendants were from as far away as Las Vegas, Nevada, Peabody, Massachusetts, Galena, Maryland, and from North Brunswick, New Jersey.

The balance of those arrested was from Delaware, Chester and Philadelphia Counties.  All of the defendants were arrested and then arraigned by local Magisterial District Judges. Bail was set for each defendant, and they ranged from a low of $50,000 to a high of $500,000.

Those who engage in this criminal conduct here in Delaware County should be forewarned that our ICAC Task Force is actively working to locate and arrest these perpetrators who further the victimization of children,” said District Attorney Copeland. “This undercover operation is a reminder to parents and community members how important it is to talk with their children, monitor internet use, and report any suspicious activity to our ICAC Task Force. I would like to commend our ICAC Task Force members and its various law enforcement partners for their continued work in locating and apprehending these perpetrators.”

The operation was conducted by the Delaware County District Attorney’s Criminal

Investigation Division (CID) Internet Crime Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, the Pennsylvania State Police, Tinicum Township Police Department, Ridley Township Police Department, Glenolden Borough Police Department, Darby Borough Police Department, Darby Township Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Each defendant’s arrest, charges, and bail are outlined below.

Kenneth Albert Ruzat, 54, of the 1300 block of Langley Street in Trainer, was arrested ICAC Task Force member Corporal Chris Hill of the Pennsylvania State Police who posed online as a 14-year-old male on a social networking application.

 

 

Ruzat allegedly exchanged several messages with the undercover officer asking to perform sexual acts on the juvenile and asking for nude photographs. A meeting was arranged and on April 6, 2019, and Ruzat was taken into police custody.

 

Ruzat was charged with attempt to commit involuntary sexual intercourse and related offenses. Judge Jack D. Lippart arraigned him, and bail was set at $100,000, requiring the defendant to come up with 10%. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 20, 2019, before Magisterial District JudgeLippart. Assistant District Attorney Matthew Catania is prosecuting the case.

 

Marvin Gus Jennings, 53, of the 4100 block of Ogden Street in Philadelphia, was arrested by ICAC Task Force member Detective Sergeant Kenneth Bellis of the Delco Criminal Investigation Division (CID) along with ICAC unit Officer Timothy Kearney of the Ridley Township Police Department.

 

 

Officer Kearney posed as a 14-year-old juvenile female and engaged in online conversations with a man identified as Marvin Jennings, who asked whether the juvenile was willing to have sexual intercourse with an older male and initiated further sexual conversations.

 

Jennings on April 29, 2019, arranged to meet the 14-year old juvenile, asked sexual questions and told the youth what clothing to wear. The next day, Jennings arrived at the agreed upon location and was taken into custody by the Ridley Township Police Department.

 

Jennings was charged with attempt to commit statutory sexual assault and related offenses. Magisterial District Judge Vincent D. Gallagher set bail at $500,000 cash. The preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 6, 2019, before Magisterial District Judge Gallagher and Assistant District Attorney Christopher Boggs is prosecuting.

 

Mohammed S. Merchant, 24, of the 1000 block of Marc Drive in North Brunswick, New Jersey, was investigated by  ICAC Task Force member Detective Lisa DeMartini of the Delco CID unit.

 

 

On April 22, 2019, Detective DeMartini met with a concerned parent regarding an individual communicating with their 14-year-old child. After a review of the social media messages, Officer DiMartini posed as the 14-year-old female child and engaged in communications with an individual identified as Mohammed Merchant.

Merchant allegedly told the 14-year-old he wanted to have sex with the juvenile and would meet the minor at a location that evening. Upon arrival Merchant was

taken into custody and told police he was going to have sex with the 14-year-old female child.

Merchant was charged with attempt to commit statutory sexual assault and related offenses. He was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Michael A. Burns, and bail was set at $150,000 cash. The preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 8, 2019, before Magisterial District Judge Burns with Assistant District Attorney Christopher Boggs prosecuting.

Gregory Mark Sylvia, 32, of the 600 block of Lowell Street in Peabody, Massachusetts, was arrested by ICAC Task Force member Corporal John Sours of the Pennsylvania State Police.  

 


 

Corporal Sours posed as a 15-year-old juvenile male on a social media application. During the exchanges, Sylvia allegedly sent nude photos and advised he wanted to perform sexual acts on the juvenile. A meeting was arranged, and upon his arrival, Sylvia was taken into custody.

 

Gregory Sylvia was charged with attempt to commit involuntary sexual intercourse and related offenses. He was arraigned on April 5, 2019, before Magisterial District Judge Jack D. Lippart, and bail was set at $100,000 requiring 10%. The preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 13, 2019, before Magisterial District Judge Lippart. Assistant District Attorney Christopher Boggs is prosecuting.

 

Santhosh Akinepalli, 27, of the 300 block of Apple Drive in Exton, was arrested following an investigation by  ICACTask Force member Officer Tim Kearney of the Ridley Township Police Department.  

 

 

On April 6, 2019, Officer Kearney posed as a 13-year-old female on a social media application and received a message from an individual later identified as Akinepalli, who asked, “How much for an hour?” while asking the juvenile to engage in sex. Akinepalli said he would drive to the juvenile’s location after allegedly acknowledging several times that he knew the youth was 13 years old.

On April 12, 2019, after engaging in sexual related conversation, Akinepalli arranged to meet the juvenile at a pre-arranged location and was taken into custody while traveling to the location. Akinepalli was charged with attempt to commit statutory sexual assault and related offenses. Magisterial District Judge Jack D. Lippart set bail at $50,000/10%. The preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 13, 2019, before Magisterial District Judge Lippart. Assistant District AttorneyDiane Horn is prosecuting.

Anthony Quairoli, 22, of the 400 block of Corinthian Avenue in Essington, was arrested following an investigation by ICAC Task Force member Officer Tim Kearney of the Ridley Township Police Department. Kearney posed as a 13-year-old female and was asked by Quairoli through a social media application to hang out, and whether the juvenile wanted to have sex with him.  After Quairoli was told that the minor was actually 12-years-old, he said he still wanted to have sex with her and arranged a meeting.

 

 

At approximately 8:20 pm on April 6, 2019, a meeting was arranged, and when Quairoli arrived, he was taken into custody. Quairoli was charged with attempt to commit rape of a child and related offenses.

Quairoli was arraigned in front of Magisterial District Judge Jack D. Lippart, and bail was set at $100,000 with 10% required.  The preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 20, 2019, before MagisterialDistrict Judge Lippart. Assistant District Attorney Alan Borowsky is prosecuting the case.

 

Michael Dean Norman, 38, of the 1700 block Sweet Pea Avenue in Las Vegas, Nevada, was arrested by ICAC TaskForcemember Corporal John Sours of the Pennsylvania State Police. On April 5, 2019, Corporal Sours posed as a 15-year-old male on a social networking application and received sexual messages from Norman, including his photograph. Norman told the juvenile that he wanted to perform oral sex on the youth.

 

 


A meeting was arranged, and Michael Norman was taken into custody after being observed walking toward the meeting location with the cell phone used to communicate with the juvenile.

 

Norman was charged with attempt to commit involuntary sexual intercourse and related offenses. He was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Jack D. Lippart, and bail was set at $100,000/10%. Defendant subsequently waived his preliminary hearing. Assistant District Attorney Matthew Catania is prosecuting the case for the Commonwealth.

 

 

Andrew Stephen Oatley, 23, of the 31000 block of Mark Drive in Galena, Maryland, was arrested following an investigation by ICAC Task Force member Corporal John Sours of the Pennsylvania State Police and a member of thee.  Sours posed as an undercover 15-year-old male on a social networking application.

 


On April 5, 2019, Oatleycontacted the juvenile asking for nude photographs and sexual requests, including having sexual intercourse with the juvenile, and eventually sent a photo of himself. Oately arranged to meet with the minor and on April 5, 2019, upon his arrival Oately was taken into custody by police.

Oately allegedly admitted to police that he was in Delaware when he began messaging the juvenile, went home to Maryland, and drove back to the meeting location in Pennsylvania.

Oately was charged with attempt to commit involuntary sexual intercourse and related offenses. He was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Jack D. Lippart, and bail was set at $50,000/10%. The preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 20, 2019, in front of Magisterial District Judge Lippart. Assistant District Attorney Diane Horn is prosecuting the case.

 

Roberto Flores Ascenion, 37, of the 800 block of Kohn Street in Norristown, was arrested following when ICAC Task Force member Officer Time Kearney of the Ridley Township Police Department posed as an undercover 12-year-old female. Ascenion messaged the juvenile stating, “I would like to meet you and have a good time.” When the undercover officer replied that they were only 12 years old, Ascenion continued to message the juvenile. After several exchanges, Ascenion told the juvenile they were going to have sex and that he wanted the juvenile to “masturbate him.”

 

 

Ascenion allegedly told the juvenile he was thirty minutes away, and he was taken into custody by police after arriving at the agreed upon location. Ascenion was charged with attempt to commit rape of a child and related offenses. He was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Vincent D. Gallagher and bail was set at $100,000/10%. The preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 13, 2019, before Magisterial District Judge Gallagher. Assistant District AttorneyDanielle Gallaher is prosecuting.

 

Sachin Kumar Shetty, 28, of the 2500 block of Jean Drive in Hatfield, was arrested following an investigation by ICAC Task Force member Officer Leo Doyle with the Ridley Township Police Department who posed undercover as a 13-year-old female.

 


 

Shetty messaged the undercover officer on a social media application, asking her age and telling her that he was 25 years old. The conversation resulted in Shetty telling the juvenile he could come to pick her up and they would have sex, and he stated, “I'm ready to lose my virginity to you.” Later that afternoon on April 6, 2019, Shetty arrived at the pre-arranged meet location and was taken into custody.

Shetty allegedly told police he was ready to have sexual relations with the 13-year-old female if she was ready. Shettty was charged with attempt to commit statutory sexual assault and related offenses. He was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Jack D. Lippart, and bail was set at $100,000/10%. The defendant waived his preliminary hearing. Assistant District Attorney Danielle Gallaher is prosecuting the case on for the State.

The DA’s office reminds us that criminal charges and subsequent conversations are allegations and that all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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