Viennese Arrested in Florida After Online Gaming Messaging

Viennese Arrested in Florida After Online Gaming Messaging

Orlando/Vienna (APA) – A young Viennese man has been taken into custody in the US state of Florida. The 24-year-old traveled to the USA to meet his 15-year-old internet acquaintance. They are said to have had sex, which would be a violation of the age of consent of 16 in Florida. The Foreign Ministry confirmed a report to this effect by the “Kronen Zeitung” newspaper to the APA on Sunday. The arrest took place at the beginning of May in Cocoa Beach.

Since then, the Viennese has been in Brevard County Jail. According to “Kronen”, he is also accused of kidnapping. The 24-year-old is “doing well under the circumstances”, according to the ministry. “Since the arrest became known, the Austrian embassy in Washington and the Austrian honorary consulate in Orlando have been in constant contact with the person concerned, his relatives, and the local authorities.” The honorary consul has already visited the young man several times for longer detention visits, and a lawyer has also been arranged for him. “We are continuing our efforts to provide the best possible support for the man concerned,” said a spokesperson from the Foreign Ministry.

The young man’s mother told the “Kronen Zeitung” that her son “met and fell in love with the girl in an online computer game”. The two had written messages to each other for months, with the 15-year-old claiming to be 19 years old. The 24-year-old then traveled to Florida to meet his “great love”. According to his mother, he did not know that she was still a minor.

The case is reminiscent of an 18-year-old Upper Austrian man who was arrested in Florida in 2018 after meeting his 15-year-old chat acquaintance and having sex with her. At the time, the girl had fooled the Austrian into believing she was already older. After an appeal for donations, his bail was paid for 200,000 USD and he was released. According to the “Kronen Zeitung” newspaper, bail has now been granted for 160,000 USD (around 150,000 EUR).

In the case of the Upper Austrian, the public prosecutor’s office in Sarasota, Florida, has not brought any charges as a result. The honorary consul from back then is now also handling the case of the Viennese.

According to the Foreign Ministry, around 160 Austrians are currently imprisoned abroad. The offenses include offenses against public safety, life and limb, drug offenses, property offenses, smuggling, and human trafficking offenses as well as sexual offenses.


Image: WKMG

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