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Police: Largo man posed as 17-year-old student to have sex with underage girl

LARGO — A 21-year-old Largo man was arrested on a charge of lewd and lascivious battery after he posed as a teenager in order to have sex with a girl under the age of 16, police said.

Pinellas County sheriff's detectives arrested Zachery Tarver, who turned 21 in March, on Friday. Already on probation for another conviction stemming from abuse of a minor, he was taken into custody at his probation office, police said.

Tarver had previously been arrested in Pinellas County on suspicion of lewd and lascivious battery of a child in 2010, but the charge was reduced to child abuse through a plea agreement, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement records. He was also charged Friday with violating his probation for that offense.

Tarver posed as a 17-year-old student when he met the most recent victim online, police said. They went on to have three "consensual sexual encounters" during the past two months, according to the Sheriff's Office.

However, when Tarver sent "inappropriate images" of himself to the girl on her cellular phone, she alerted authorities at her school, police said. The name of the school was not released.

Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. David DiSano said detectives think Tarver might have sent the images to other victims as well.

Tarver was being held at the county jail Friday in lieu of $60,000 bail.

Anyone with information about other victims can call the sheriff's Crimes Against Children Unit at (727) 582-6200, or to remain anonymous can call 1-800-873-TIPS.

Peter Jamison can be reached at pjamison@tampabay.com or (727) 445-4157.

Police: Largo man posed as 17-year-old student to have sex with underage girl 05/11/12 [Last modified: Friday, May 11, 2012 9:55pm]
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