Feds: Charleston man met 13-year-old girl on social media, traveled to Missouri to have sex with her

Published: May. 7, 2019 at 12:31 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - According to a federal complaint filed in federal court for the eastern district of Missouri, a man traveled from South Carolina to St. Louis, Missouri, then rented an AirBnB in order to have sex with a 13-year-old girl he met online.

Ryan Joseph Palmieri, 36, has been charged with the federal offense of traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct. He was arrested by the FBI in Charleston last Saturday.

According to an affidavit filed Monday in federal court, the incident took place between February and April 2019. During an interview with the girl in Missouri, she told a detective she met Palmieri through the site “MeetMe” and knew he lived in South Carolina. She told investigators that she posted her age as 15 even though she was 13, while Palmieri told her he was 17.

The pair then moved to Skype and later texts where they would send each other nude images and, after several months, Palmieri told the girl he was actually in his 30s, according to the affidavit.

The girl then told investigators that Palmieri went to St. Louis to have sex with her in early 2019 and he stayed in the area in an AirBnB for a week, the affidavit stated. She then said that he came to St. Louis again in April and they had sex again at an AirBnB.

The affidavit also stated that Palmieri bought her new clothes and jewelry, and when her mother asked where she got them, she told her mother about everything that had happened between her and Palmieri. The girl then showed the detective a string of texts between her and Palmieri in which he stated that he “loved” her and that he was scared to go to jail, the affidavit stated.

The detective then contacted AirBnB, which gave him a copy of Palmieri’s driver’s license which came back to his Charleston address, the affidavit stated. The girl then identified him out of a photo lineup on May 2. Palmieri was then arrested by the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office on May 3.

The affidavit also states that in 2015, police were called to a home in Fayetteville, North Carolina where the father of a 17-year-old girl found Palmieri naked in the girl’s closet and he fled on foot after a physical confrontation.

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