AG Announces Arrests in Child Predator Stings

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Tom Corbett announced that agents from the Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit have recently arrested five men from western and central Pennsylvania who are accused of using the Internet to sexually proposition what they believed were 13- and 14-year old girls, including three men who traveled to suburban Pittsburgh for sexual meetings. The suspects were actually communicating with undercover agents who were using the online profiles of young girls.

Corbett identified the defendants as:
-Lahbib Hannoune, 30, Glenshaw, Allegheny County.
-Joseph Duane Tyger, 46, Commodore, Indiana County.
-Nityanand Gopalika, 30, State College, Centre County.
-Dominic J. Galliani, 44, Uniontown, Fayette County.
-Harlan Gene King, 26, Confluence, Somerset County.

Corbett said that in all five recent cases, the defendants approached undercover agents in Internet chat rooms – rapidly moving the conversation to sexual topics, including graphic de scri ptions of the sex acts they wish to engage in.

“Parents need to understand that online conversations can quickly escalate to include sexually graphic discussions or plans for face-to-face meetings, and that predators will travel as far as necessary if they believe they have found a vulnerable child,” Corbett said.

Corbett said that three of the defendants – Tyger, Gopalika and King – were all arrested when they arrived at predetermined meeting locations near Pittsburgh, where they had allegedly arranged to meet and have sex with the young girls. The other two men – Hannoune and Galliani – are charged with sending webcam videos that allegedly showed them nude and masturbating in front of their computers.

“As summer vacation continues, young people are spending more time online and many are unsupervised for longer periods of time,” Corbett said. “Parents should regularly discuss online safety with their children and stress the importance of immediately reporting any situation where strangers make sexual propositions, attempt to arrange meetings or send graphic photos or videos.”

Corbett explained that the Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit has arrested 226 online predators since it was created in January 2005.

“Activity by online predators has jumped dramatically this year,” Corbett said. “So far in 2009 we have made 49 arrests, which is a 40% increase in the number of cases compared to last year – and since the start of this summer we have made 13 arrests, more than double the number of arrests we made during the same time period in 2008.”

Lahbib Hannoune
Corbett said that Hannoune allegedly used an Internet chat room to approach what he believed was a 13-year old girl, asking her for a photo and commenting on her appearance, telling her, “u have nice boobs.”

According to the criminal complaint, Hannoune asked the girl if she was a virgin and proposed meeting for sex, telling her that he could make her feel “so good.” He is also accused of instructing the girl to masturbate and sending webcam videos that showed him nude and masturbating.

Hannoune was arrested at his home on June 26th by agents from the Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit, assisted by officers from the Shaler Police Department. He was jailed in lieu of $100,000 straight bail pending a preliminary hearing on July 23.

Corbett said that Hannoune is a native of Morocco who recently obtained his U.S. citizenship. Because the alleged crimes occurred while he was visiting on a visa, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is reviewing Hannoune’s status in the country.

Hannoune is charged with six counts of unlawful contact with a minor and two counts of criminal use of a computer, all third-degree felonies which are each punishable by up to seven years in prison and $15,000 fines.

Hannoune will be prosecuted in Allegheny County by Deputy Attorney General William F. Caye II of the Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit.

Joseph Duane Tyger
Corbett said that Tyger, using the screen name “WasWild2,” used an Internet chat room to approach an undercover agent on June 25th, immediately asking the girl about her sexual experience. At the time, the agent was using the online profile of a 13-year old girl.

According to the criminal complaint, Tyger asked the girl if she had ever seen a naked man and discussed engaging in oral sex, telling her, “I know a girl your age that loves (performing oral sex).”

Corbett said that Tyger acknowledged the girls age, along with the age difference between them, but allegedly continued to propose a meeting for sex, telling her, “I would love to get you in bed… don’t get me wrong, I think you are sexy and sweet… but we both know it wouldn’t be a lasting thing with the age diff.”

Tyger was arrested on June 29, four days after the initial chat, when he arrived at a prearranged meeting location in Cranberry Township, Butler County. He was taken into custody by agents from the Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit, assisted by officers from the Cranberry Township Police Department.

Tyger was preliminarily arraigned on June 29 and freed on $75,000 bail pending a preliminary hearing.

Tyger is charged with one count of attempted unlawful contact with a minor (related to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse), a first-degree felony which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Additionally, Tyger is charged with one count of attempted unlawful contact with a minor (related to statutory sexual assault), a second degree felony punishable by up to 10-years in prison and a $25,000 fine, along with one count of criminal use of a computer, a third-degree felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and $15,000 fines.

Tyger will be prosecuted in Butler County by Deputy Attorney General Michael A. Sprow of the Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit.

Nityanand Gopalika
Corbett said that Gopalika, a native of India in the United States on a work visa as an engineer, allegedly used an Internet chat room to approach what he believed was a 13-year old girl from the Pittsburgh area. The “girl” was actually an undercover agent from the Child Predator Unit.

According to the criminal complaint, Gopalika engaged in a series of chats over the next several days, questioning the girl about her sexual experience and describing the sex acts he wished to engage in. Gopalika is also accused of sending the girl two webcam videos that showed him nude or masturbating in front of his computer.

Gopalika was arrested on July 1 when he arrived at a predetermined meeting location in Cranberry Township, Butler County. Following a search of his vehicle, agents seized two laptop computers, a digital camera, a cell phone allegedly containing a partially completed text message to the “child,” directions to the meeting location and a bag of condoms.

Gopalika was preliminarily arraigned on July 1 and lodged in the Butler County Jail in lieu of $15,000 cash bail, pending a preliminary hearing on July 24.

Gopalika is charged with one count of attempted unlawful contact with a minor (related to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse), a first-degree felony which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Additionally, Gopalika is charged with two counts of unlawful contact with a minor (related to obscene performances), along with one count of criminal use of a computer, all third-degree felonies which are each punishable by up to seven years in prison and $15,000 fines.

Gopalika will be prosecuted in Butler County by Deputy Attorney General Michael A. Sprow of the Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit.

Dominic J. Galliani
Corbett said that Galliani allegedly used an Inernet chat room to approach an undercover agent who was using the online profile of a 14-year old girl from the Harrisburg area – asking her if she used her computer to watch pornography or “watch guys on cam.”

According to the criminal complaint, Galliani asked the girl if her mother monitored her Internet use, asking, “Does your mom check your computer to see what sites you went to?” Later, Galliani allegedly sent the girl instructions to delete any messages saved by her instant message program.

Corbett said that Galliani exchanged a series of online messages with the girl, allegedly directing her to websites that showed pornographic videos and later sending her webcam videos that showed him nude or masturbating in front of his computer.

Galliani was arrested in Uniontown, Fayette County, on Thursday, July 16, by agents from the Child Predator Unit and transported to Dauphin County, where criminal charges were filed.

Galliani is charged with four counts of unlawful contact with a minor and one count of criminal use of a computer, all third-degree felonies which are each punishable by up to seven years in prison and $15,000 fines.

Galliani was lodged in the Dauphin County Jail in lieu of $75,000 straight bail pending a preliminary hearing scheduled for July 29th.

Galliani will be prosecuted in Dauphin County by Deputy Attorney General Michael A. Sprow of the Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit.

Harlan Gene King
Corbett said that King, using the screen name “Bub_2001,” allegedly used an Internet chat room to approach what he believed was a 13-year old girl from the Pittsburgh area. The “girl” was actually an undercover agent from the Child Predator Unit.

According to the criminal complaint, King commented on the girl’s age during their first chat, telling her, “I’m double your age – 26.”

Corbett said that King allegedly engaged in a series of graphic online chats during June and July, expressing a desire to meet the girl for sex and described in detail the sex acts he wished to perform.

According to the criminal charges, King proposed that he pick the girl up at her home and take her to an amusement park with his family – urging her to claim that she was 18-years old. Following their visit to the park, King allegedly suggested that she stay overnight at his home so they could have sex.

King was arrested on July 17, when he arrived at a predetermined meeting location in Cranberry Township, Butler County. He was taken into custody by agents from the Child Predator Unit, assisted by officers from the Cranberry Township Police Department.

King is charged with two counts of unlawful contact with a minor (related to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and statutory sexual assault), both first-degree felonies which are each punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Additionally, King is charged with two counts of unlawful contact with a minor (related to obscene performances) and two counts of criminal use of a computer, all third-degree felonies which are each punishable by up to seven years in prison and $15,000 fines.

King was preliminarily arraigned on July 17 and lodged in the Butler County Jail in lieu of $25,000 straight bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 24.

King will be prosecuted in Butler County by Deputy Attorney General William F. Caye II of the Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit.

Internet Safety
Corbett noted that the techniques used by Internet predators change rapidly, spurred by developments in communication technology and changes in where and how children communicate online. He added that predators will communicate with children in many different ways, using public or private online chat rooms, instant message programs, text messages, email, cell phones and webcams.

“Predators will always be drawn to locations that give them the greatest access to the largest number of potential victims,” Corbett said. “Today, they stalk a variety of online sites, including chat rooms; social networking websites like MySpace and Facebook; Internet message boards; video game sites; and even online classified ads on Craigslist.”

Corbett encouraged parents to monitor how their children use the Internet, including:
-What websites they use.
-What social networking sites they may frequent (MySpace, Facebook, etc).
-The importance of not sharing personal information with strangers (names, ages, addresses, schools or other identifying information).
-Avoiding strangers who approach them online.
-Reporting any contact with individuals who engage in sexual discussions or attempt to send graphic photos or videos.
-Corbett said that suspected Internet predators can be reported to the Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit by using the “Report a Predator” link, located on the front page of the Attorney General’s Web site.

Individuals with information about potential Internet predators can also call the Attorney General’s Child Predator Hotline, at 1-800-385-1044.

Additionally, Corbett said that safety tips and other information are available in the “Operation Safe Surf” and “Just for Kids” sections of the Attorney General’s website. Also, organizations interested in materials, speakers or presentations, may contact the Attorney General’s Education and Outreach Office at 1-800-525-7642 or via email at education@attorneygeneral.gov.

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