CONCORD, Mass. - A Rhode Island man is accused of raping and forcing a 15-year-old Massachusetts girl that he met online into prostitution.
Rocco Pelopida, 41, of East Greenwich, Rhode Island, was held on $25,000 bail during his arraignment Wednesday in Concord District Court. A judge also ordered Pelopida to stay away from and have no contact with the victim and her family, to have no unsupervised contact with children under 18, and to surrender his passport if he posts bail.
Pelopida faces charges of aggravated statutory rape of a child, enticement of a child under the age of 16, paying for sexual conduct with a child under 18 and inducing a child to become a prostitute, authorities said.
He is accused of engaging in a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl from Massachusetts that he met online, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said in a statement.
A preliminary investigation found that the victim and Pelopida met on a website, Casual Encounters, and subsequently began corresponding over Snapchat.
Using Snapchat, Pelopida and the victim allegedly arraigned to meet up. During their meeting, Pelopida allegedly offered the victim money to perform sex acts and had sex with the minor.
Around 3 a.m. Wednesday, Concord Police responded to the area of Saw Mill Road after receiving a report of an older man attempting to leave with a 15-year-old girl.
The girl's parents told police that they heard their daughter leave the house, tracked her location and called 911.
When officers arrived, they found Pelopida inside his vehicle with the victim, and arrested him.
Pelopida is due back in court on June 17.
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