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Sex offender arrested after online chats

NEW PORT RICHEY — State and local authorities on Friday arrested a 66-year-old registered sex offender accused of trying to solicit sex from two young children in an Internet chat room.

Richard John Hannon, of 5110 Sandpiper Road, was charged with one count of solicitation of a parent for unlawful sex acts with a child, a felony.

Using the screen name "RichFL," Hannon exchanged online messages during April and May with an undercover detective posing as the mother of a 12-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl, said New Port Richey Lt. Jeffrey Harrington.

Hannon told the detective he wanted to have sex with the children, according to a statement from the Florida Attorney General's Office, and tried to schedule a trip to meet them.

New Port Richey police and investigators from the state's CyberCrime Unit used computer tracking programs to track Hannon to his home, Harrington said.

Hannon admitted to having the conversations with the undercover detective, the statement said.

Hannon is a registered sex offender. In 1999, he was arrested for allegedly trying to solicit sex online from a detective posing as a 15-year-old boy, said Pasco sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll. Hannon said he wanted to watch the boy have sex with an 11-year-old girl who lived nearby, Doll said.

Adjudication was withheld in that case, and Hannon served six months of community control and 21/2 years of probation, according to state criminal records. One condition of his probation was to have no Internet access, Harrington said.

On Friday, Hannon was taken to the county jail in Land O'Lakes, where he was being held on $5,000 bail. Authorities also seized computer equipment from his home.

Nomaan Merchant can be reached at nmerchant@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6244.

Sex offender arrested after online chats 08/01/08 [Last modified: Saturday, August 2, 2008 5:38pm]
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