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Child Exploitation

St. Petersburg man sentenced to 14 years for soliciting sex with child

TAMPA, Fla. – A St. Petersburg man was sentenced Friday to 14 years in federal prison for using his computer to solicit and arrange for sex with a 4-year-old child. The sentencing resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, as part of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

According to court documents, between March and July 2012, Raymond Roland Collette, 40, posted an advertisement on Craigslist seeking a person to engage in sexual acts involving his shoe fetish. Collette began communicating online with a person identified as "KK." During the chats, "KK" discussed that he had a girlfriend with a 4-year-old daughter. This prompted Collette to express interest in engaging in sexual acts with the child. Once Collette expressed interest in having sex with the child, "KK" alerted law enforcement. Collette unknowingly continued his conversations with an undercover detective. During the online conversations, Collette made several proposals to sexually exploit children.

"These individuals are sick. They hide behind their computers thinking that they won't be discovered. Think again. Law enforcement officers at all levels of government have joined forces to uncover these predators and ensure that they are prosecuted to the full extent of the law," said Susan McCormick, special agent in charge of HSI Tampa.

Beyond his prison sentence, the court also ordered Collette to forfeit the computer he used to commit the offense.

Collette pleaded guilty Nov. 20.

This investigation was also part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.

HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.