FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a 50-year-old registered sex offender who showed up at a Florida hotel room with condoms and superhero T-shirts was expecting to have a sexual encounter with three young boys. Waiting for him instead were state and federal agents.
The Sun Sentinel reports that Joseph Meahl was indicted Thursday on charges of attempting to entice minors to engage in sexual activity and committing a felony involving minors while registered as a sex offender. The central Florida man was picked up in the sting earlier this month.
"This defendant is who every parent has nightmares about," prosecutor Francis Viamontes told a U.S. magistrate during Thursday's hearing.
The judge ruled that Meahl is a danger to the community and a flight risk. She ordered that he remain in custody without bond set.
According to court documents, Meahl didn't know he was communicating with an undercover agent when he arranged to meet two men he thought were going to let him have sex with their sons, ages 9, 11 and 13.
Meahl was arrested at the Sunrise hotel on April 13. Investigators say he brought condoms and lubricant, plus the superhero T-shirts as gifts. FBI and Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents said they found a camcorder and a laptop in the trunk of his car.
Viamontes said Meahl received a light punishment when he served two years and three months in federal prison for transporting child pornography in Colorado in 2000.
"He's shown that he cannot be rehabilitated," Viamontes said.
Jail records didn't indicate whether Meahl had a lawyer.