Arrest in Internet sex investigation

Historic City News has learned that, yesterday, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office investigation of a 20 year-old Valdosta man has resulted in a federal grand jury indictment on charges he attempted to entice a minor child over the Internet for sex.

Brandon Meredith Hardy was arrested at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Georgia, and is scheduled to appear for an arraignment and detention hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joel B. Toomey on May 31, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. at the United States Courthouse in Jacksonville.

The indictment charges Hardy with attempted enticement, via the Internet, of a person whom he believed to be a minor child, for the purposes of engaging in illegal sexual activity. If convicted, Hardy faces a mandatory minimum sentence of at least 10 years and up to life imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.

This case was jointly investigated by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, the Child Predator Cybercrime Unit of the Florida Attorney General’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

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