KANSAS CITY, Missouri — An Ohio man is facing federal charges after authorities said he traveled to Kansas City, Missouri from Southington, Ohio to have sex with a 12-year-old girl.
Timothy Zukoski is charged with a three-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Missouri.
According to an affidavit, Zukoski began communicating through Instagram with a person he believed to be 12-years-old. In reality, the account had been set up by a Kansas City area woman for her daughter.
“I don’t allow them on social media. One of my children is an extremely talented artist. She wanted to start an art page. I told her I will but I’m in charge of it and you don’t have access to it,” said the woman, who we are not identifying to protect her child.
Within just a couple of days, she said she received a request from a man she did not know.
“I sent a message and said do I know you? He said no, I just like to follow interesting pages and he asked if it was ok. I said I guess and his next question was how old are you? I told him 12 cause that’s how old my daughter is,” she explained. “I can’t get into what was said after that but immediately went into a sexual nature,” she said. The Missouri mother of two then contacted police.
An FBI undercover employee began communicating with Zukoski through the account, assuming the identity of the 12-year-old girl according to the affidavit. Federal authorities said Zukoski began making arrangements to travel to the Kansas City area so that he could meet the child victim for sex.
“Unfortunately, this happens all the time. It happens a lot more than the public is aware of,” said Cleveland FBI Special Agent Vicki Anderson.
Zukoski also suggested, the affidavit said, that the child victim could come live with him. When Zukoski arrived in Kansas City he was arrested. Investigators said they found numerous images of child pornography on his cell phone.
Investigators said it’s a good reminder to parents about social media and predators targeting children.
“The parent has to be nosey, has to ask questions, know what your child is doing and who they’re talking to,” said Anderson.
Anderson said the woman did the right thing turning to law enforcement immediately after the conversation started to ensure the case was not jeopardized in court.
The indictment charges Zukoski with one count of attempting to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity, one count of traveling across state lines to engage in illicit sexual conduct, and one count of possessing child pornography.
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