10 alleged child predators arrested as part of Operation e-Traffic

HARRISBURG, Pa.– Attorney General Bruce R. Beemer today announced the arrests of 10 individuals from western Pennsylvania accused of using the Internet in attempts to sexually exploit children.

The arrests are part of Operation e-Traffic, a joint effort between state and local law enforcement officers to identify online child predators. The operation was conducted in recent weeks by the Attorney General’s Child Predator Section and the City of McKeesport Police Department.

Working undercover in many cases, investigators identified several individuals who attempted to arrange sexual encounters with minors, including a 70-year-old man alleged to have solicited a mother for sex with her 10-year-old daughter. The defendants charged in connection with this operation reside in Allegheny, Beaver and Erie counties.

“Our Child Predator Section routinely investigates cases where child predators have used the Internet to build trust with their intended victims,” Attorney General Beemer said. “That knowledge led us to design this proactive investigation, which was a successful partnership between our office and local authorities. These arrests should serve as a reminder that child predators are increasingly turning to the Internet to seek out children in our communities.”

Investigators who took part in this investigation monitored Internet communications on various websites. They also assumed the identities of children in efforts to root out child predators.

Attorney General Beemer thanked the City of McKeesport Police Department for its work on this investigation.

Below is a list of the defendants, their last known addresses and a description of their alleged crimes:

Arthur J. Klein, 70, of the 100 block of Carriage Drive, Freedom, Beaver County, is charged with one count each of unlawful contact with a minor, criminal attempt to commit involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, criminal attempt to commit indecent assault of a person less than 13 years of age and criminal use of a communication facility.

It is alleged that Klein responded to an online advertisement. He allegedly sent sexually explicit messages to persons he believed to be a 36-year-old mother and her 10-year-old daughter. The mother and child were actually an undercover agent with the Child Predator Section.

Klein set up a meeting for the purpose of having sexual contact with the person he believed to be the 10-year-old, investigators alleged in a criminal complaint. He was arrested after arriving at a predetermined meeting location.

Klein has been released from custody. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 9.

Gary Stephen Mesina, 48, of the 1400 block of Lower Bull Run Road, West Mifflin, Allegheny County, is charged with one count each of unlawful contact with a minor, criminal attempt to commit involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, criminal attempt to commit indecent assault of a person less than 13 years of age and criminal use of a communication facility.

According to investigators, Mesina responded to an online advertisement and sent electronic communications to a person he believed to be a 14-year-old girl. This person was actually an undercover agent with the Child Predator Section.

Mesina is alleged to have exchanged sexually explicit messages with the person he believed to be the underage girl. He allegedly set up a meeting for the purpose of having sexual contact with the child. Mesina was taken into custody when he arrived at a predetermined location.

Mesina was released from custody after a bondsman posted a surety bond on his behalf. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 9.

Christian Beebe, 31, of the 1000 block of Allegheny Ave., Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, is charged with one count each of unlawful contact with a minor, criminal attempt to commit involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, criminal attempt to commit indecent assault of a person less than 16 years of age and criminal use of a communication facility.

According to investigators, Beebe made online contact with a person he believed to be a 14-year-old girl. The person was in fact an undercover agent with the Child Predator Section.

It is alleged that Beebe arranged a meeting for the purpose of having sexual contact with the person he believed to be the underage girl. Beebe was arrested after arriving at a predetermined location in Allegheny County.

Beebe was released from custody after posting $50,000 bail. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 19.

Larry Vincent Teck Jr., 36, of the 900 block of Center St., Versailles, Allegheny County, is charged with one count each of unlawful contact with a minor, criminal attempt to commit involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, criminal attempt to commit indecent assault of a person less than 13 years of age and criminal use of a communication facility.

Teck allegedly made contact online with a person he believed to be a 14-year-old boy. The person was actually an undercover agent with the Child Predator Section.

It is alleged that Teck sent sexually explicit electronic messages to the person he believed to be the minor. He later arranged a meeting for the purpose of having sexual contact with the purported minor, investigators alleged in a criminal complaint.

Teck was arrested when he arrived at a predetermined meeting location. He is being held in the Allegheny County Jail. Bail is set at $10,000. Teck waived a preliminary hearing on Monday.

Darius Lumpkin, 22, of the 300 block of 9th St., McKeesport, Allegheny County, is charged with one count each of unlawful contact with a minor and criminal use of a communication facility, as well as two counts of criminal attempt to commit involuntary deviate sexual intercourse.

According to investigators, Lumpkin made contact online with a person he believed to be a 14-year-old boy. The person was actually an undercover agent with the Child Predator Section.

Lumpkin allegedly sent sexually explicit messages in which he discussed having sexual contact with the person he believed to be the minor. Lumpkin arranged an in-person meeting, leading to his arrest.

Lumpkin is being held in the Allegheny County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail. He waived a preliminary hearing on Monday.

Stephen Washlaski, 56, of the 300 block of California Ave., Oakmont, Allegheny County, is charged with three counts each of unlawful contact with a minor and criminal attempt-dissemination of explicit material to minors, as well as one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

According to investigators, Washlaski used electronic communications to solicit a mother for sexual contact with her daughters, who were purportedly 14 and 10 years old. The mother and daughters were actually an agent with the Child Predator Section working in an undercover capacity.

It is alleged that Washlaski solicited one of the purported minors for sex and also sent suspected pornography to this person. He did this knowing the purported child was underage, investigators allege.

Further investigation led agents to obtain a search warrant for Washlaski’s residence. During that search, they analyzed a computer that showed Washlaski being logged into the email account from which the alleged pornographic images were sent.

Attorney General Beemer thanked the Oakmont Police Department for its assistance with the execution of the search warrant.

Washlaski was released from custody after posting 10 percent of his $5,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 11.

Neil Anthony Stromberg, 33, of the 3200 block of Willet Road, Brentwood, Allegheny County, is charged with one count each of unlawful contact with a minor, criminal attempt to commit involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, criminal attempt to commit indecent assault of a person less than 16 years of age and criminal use of a communication facility.

Stromberg made contact online with a person he believed to be a 14-year-old girl. The person was in fact an undercover agent with the Child Predator Section.

It is alleged that Stromberg sent sexually explicit messages to the purported child. He later arranged a meeting with the child for the purpose of having sexual contact, according to investigators.

Stromberg was arrested at a pre-arranged meeting location. He is being held in lieu of $10,000 bail in the Allegheny County Jail. He waived a preliminary hearing on Monday.

Scott P. Andrew, 36, of the 1800 block of Harcum Way, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, is charged with six counts each of unlawful contact with a minor and criminal attempt-dissemination of explicit material to minors, as well as one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

Posing online as a 14-year-old girl, an undercover agent with the Child Predator Section made contact online with a person identified as Andrew. He allegedly engaged in sexually explicit conversations and sent alleged pornographic images to the purported minor despite knowing she was underage, investigators alleged in a criminal complaint.

Agents obtained a search warrant for Andrew’s residence, where they found a cell phone that contained one of the images he allegedly sent to the undercover agent.

Andrew was released from custody after a bondsman posted a surety bond on his behalf. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 5.

Eric D. Birdwell, 44, of the 500 block of Olin Ave., Girard, Erie County, is charged with five counts each of unlawful contact with a minor and criminal attempt-dissemination of explicit material to minors, as well as one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

Posing as a 14-year-old girl, an undercover agent with the Child Predator Section made contact online with a person identified as Birdwell. He is accused of sending sexually explicit messages and images to the person he believed to be the 14-year-old girl, investigators stated in a criminal complaint.

Agents obtained a search warrant for Birdwell’s cell phone. A preliminary analysis of the device revealed specific information in a messaging application that Birdwell allegedly used to communicate with the undercover agent.

Birdwell was released from custody on non-monetary bail. He is scheduled to appear Jan. 30 for a preliminary hearing.

Dan Menozzi, 59, of the 2500 block of Milford Drive, Bethel Park, Allegheny County, is charged with seven counts each of unlawful contact with a minor and criminal attempt-dissemination of explicit material to minors, as well as one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

Menozzi made contact online with a person he believed to be a 14-year-old boy. The person was actually an undercover agent with the Child Predator Section.

It is alleged that Menozzi sent sexually explicit messaged and images to the purported boy. Agents with the Attorney General’s office and the Bethel Park Police Department later executed a search warrant at his home, where they seized a cell phone. Information stored on the phone confirmed Menozzi was the individual communicating with the undercover agent posing as the minor child.

Attorney General Beemer thanked the Bethel Park Police Department for its assistance with this arrest.

Menozzi is being held in lieu of $25,000 bail in the Allegheny County Jail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 5.


Investigators who took part in this investigation are members of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which is comprised of federal, state and local law enforcement officers. The task force is responsible for conducting undercover online investigations, responding to complaints regarding children being sexually exploited through the Internet and monitoring the online sharing of child pornography.

The defendants arrested in connection with this operation will be prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Chuck E. Washburn and Deputy Attorney General Jessel A. Costa III of the Attorney General’s Child Predator Section.

Reporting Child Predators

Suspected child predators can be reported to the Office of Attorney General by calling the Child Predator Hotline at 1-800-385-1044. Individuals who suspect an online predator or child sexual abuse can also send an anonymous tip to the office by texting PAKIDS + YOUR TIP to 847411.

SOURCE: PA Attorney General’s Office