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Clearwater man arrested on multiple child sex abuse charges

Pinellas sheriff's detectives have arrested a Clearwater man on charges that he sexually abused a teen girl.

Robert William Bearlepp, 26, was arrested Thursday on multiple child sex charges in connection with the abuse, which detectives said began in February.

Detectives said Bearlepp befriended the girl, who is under the age of 16, then engaged her in sexual activity. He also sent her sexually explicit photos of himself and encouraged her to do the same, detectives said.

On Wednesday, the girl told her parents about the relationship.

They called detectives, who approached Bearlepp on Thursday at his workplace, which they described as a business that makes body lotions.

Bearlepp agreed to an interview with detectives and admitted to the abuse, sheriff's officials said.

Bealepp was being held at the Pinellas County Jail Thursday night in lieu of $50,000 bail.