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Internet affair led to sex, sheriff says

A 33-year-old Spring Hill man was arrested after he was accused of having sex with a teenage girl he met over the Internet, authorities said.

Kyle R. Mellow, was taken into custody Saturday after sheriff's units were dispatched to his home on 9496 River Road in an attempt to find a 14-year-old Plant City girl, who they thought had run away from home, a sheriff's report stated.

When authorities arrived, they found both Mellow and the girl, who he thought was 18.

Sheriff's spokesman Lt. Joseph Paez said deputies went to Mellow's residence after the victim's mother had told them that her daughter may be there with someone she met on the Internet.

During the investigation, authorities learned that Mellow and the girl, whose identity is being withheld by authorities because of her age and the nature of the allegation, had an online relationship for a couple of weeks and had gone out together before.

On Friday, the teen told her mother that she was spending the night at a friend's house. Instead, she traveled with Mellow to his home in Spring Hill, the report said.

During the investigation, the teen initially told authorities that she and Mellow were just friends and that they slept in separate rooms.

Her story quickly changed, however, after authorities told the teen they had contacted her mother and that she was on her way to the Sheriff's Office, the report said.

She told investigators she had sex with Mellow twice that morning, the report said.

The teen was taken to Pinebrook Medical Center, where a rape exam was performed. She later returned home with her mother.

Mellow, who works in sales, was taken into custody and charged with lewd or lascivious battery on a child _ a second-degree felony. He was being held at Hernando County Jail on $5,000 bail.

Mellow's arrest comes more than three weeks after two U.S. Navy mechanics were accused of inappropriately touching two 12-year-old girls and having sex with one teen they met over the Internet.

Investigators issued a warrant for the sailors' arrests last month after one of the victims' mothers found out her daughter had spent the night with a man she met in a chat room six weeks earlier. The Web site was dedicated to teens between the ages of 13 and 19. Both men were 20.

"Parents need to monitor their children's computer usage because there are people that prey on the innocent and vulnerable over the Internet," said Paez. "Increased use of computers has opened up the home."

_ Duane Bourne can be reached at 754-6114. Send e-mail to dbournesptimes.com.

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