2 ‘traveling' child predators arrested after undercover investigation

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PITTSBURGH - Two “traveling” child predators were arrested this week after an undercover investigation by the office of the attorney general’s child predator section.

In both cases, detectives said the men traveled to a predetermined location to meet, who they thought was, a 14-year-old girl for sex.

Jeffrey Marks, 62, of Washington County and Brian Zimmer, 37, of West Homestead are both facing several charges.

According to the criminal complaint, agents posing as a 14-year-old girl sent Marks a message in response to an online advertisement.

“Marks allegedly responded and immediately turned the conversation sexual in nature and discussed in graphic detail the sex acts he wished to perform on the ‘girl,’” a spokesman from the Attorney General’s Office said.

The charges state that Marks expressed a desire to meet the minor to peturform oral and other sexual acts. He was taken into custody Tuesday when he arrived at a meeting location.

“That’s disgusting.  There’s nothing else left to say,” said Samantha Moehring.

Marks is charged with two counts of unlawful contact with a minor, one count of criminal attempt to commit involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, one count of criminal attempt to commit indecent assault on a person less than 16 years of age and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

Investigators said Zimmer that Zimmer used the Internet to sexually proposition what he believed was a teenage girl. The "girl" was actually an undercover agent from the Office of Attorney General's Child Predator Section conducting an investigation into online advertisements that solicit sex from children.

According to the criminal complaint, agents posing as a minor female responded to a sexually graphic online ad that Zimmer posted. Zimmer allegedly asked the minor for photos and quickly turned the conversation sexual in nature, providing his cellphone number so that they could text.

Agents said that Zimmer allegedly expressed his interest in meeting the minor for sex and confirmed what sexual acts he wished to perform on her when they met. Zimmer was arrested on Wednesday after traveling to McKeesport to meet what he believed was a 14-year-old girl.

Zimmer is charged with two counts of unlawful contact with a minor, two counts of criminal attempt to commit indecent assault and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

“Why they do it, we don’t know.  I can’t even attempt to get into their minds.   I really can’t, but I can tell you that we can work 24 hours and seven days a week,” said Ellen Granahan, the chief prosecutor for the attorney general’s child predator section.
 
Marks and Zimmer were held in the Allegheny County Jail following their arrest.