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19-year-old Polk County man arrested for 'aggressive pursuit' of 10-year-old, authorities say

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Posted at 11:50 AM, Jun 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-17 11:50:06-04

LAKE WALES, Fla. — The Polk County Sheriff's Office says a 19-year-old man is behind bars after he "manipulated, threatened, and extorted" a 10-year-old girl into sending him nude pictures.

In a press release, the department said Simon "Pete" Anderson knew the victim's age and aggressively pursued her. Authorities say he threatened to report her to law enforcement and to kill her and himself if she didn't comply.

The victim admitted she sent Anderson pictures because she was afraid of the threats, the sheriff's office says.

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Authorities were notified when a parent of another child was told Anderson was sending the girl inappropriate photos of himself. The investigation began on April 30 and Anderson was arrested on Tuesday.

The sheriff's office discovered Anderson used his Facebook account to message the victim. When a detective with the Special Victims Unit interviewed Anderson, he admitted he sent the victim pictures and said they were “kind of in a relationship, but not really," according to a press release.

Anderson also told the detective he didn't want to send the pictures but did it "to be nice," according to the sheriff's office.

Anderson is facing charges for extortion, possession of child pornography, three counts of transmitting material harmful to a child and aggravated cyberstalking.

“As a parent, this kind of a story has got to break your heart, scare you, and make you angry, all at the same time," Sheriff Grady Judd said. "Sick creeps like this are out there folks…going after innocent children. This is exactly why I say that parents need to be all-up in their child’s business. You need to monitor who they’re communicating with online.”

The investigation is on-going and the sheriff's office says Anderson's electronic devices are being searched. Additional charges could be brought if more evidence is found.