ERIE, Pa. — A Pennsylvania man has been arrested in Georgia after allegedly traveling more than 700 miles to meet up with a person he believed to be a 13-year-old boy.
Investigators say Gregory Mancini, 29, of Erie contacted the boy on the popular online game Fortnite, and over time he turned their conversations sexual.
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Mancini, 29, allegedly told the boy he was traveling to Atlanta and that he wanted to meet in person.
“The boy realized over time this was a dangerous path, so he notified his mother,” Derick Booth, a spokesman for the Hall County Sheriff’s Office, said.
Channel 11's sister station in Atlanta, WSB-TV, spoke to the sheriff's office about what happened next.
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“Our investigators assumed the boy's identity online, and continued the conversation,” Booth said.
Mancini agreed to meet at a strip mall, but when an unmarked car pulled up, he allegedly drove away.
Investigators, posing as the 13-year-old, contacted him again.
“That's when he said, ‘I got spooked. I do want to meet you.’ That's where our investigators made contact with him,” Booth said.
Mancini was arrested on the spot and charged with criminal attempt to commit child molestation.
WSB-TV reporter Tom Regan looked into Mancini's past and learned he was an assistant coach at Cathedral Prep, a Catholic school in Erie He was also a substitute teacher at Cathedral Prep and Villa Maria Academy until 2015. School officials said he passed all of his background checks, but when they learned of the arrest, he was fired.
"Prior to his arrest, there were never any reports of inappropriate behaviors with minors," a letter from school president Father Scott Jabo to parents said.
Cox Media Group