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.