A Virginia man made his first court appearance Wednesday on charges that he stalked and solicited a 13-year-old girl for sex online.
Ricki George Palacio, 65, appeared Wednesday in State District Court in Virginia before Sixth District Judge Michelle Anderson. Palacio is charged with stalking, soliciting a child through electronic communication, describing sexual conduct with a child online and distributing material that describes sexual content to a child online.
Anderson set Palacio's bail at $75,000, in line with a request from the St. Louis County Attorney's Office.
According to the criminal complaint filed Wednesday:
On Feb. 26, the girl received a message on Facebook from someone with the profile name "Jesse James," later identified as Palacio, asking how old she was. The girl told Palacio she was 13 years old, which Palacio told her was "the age of maturity." Palacio told the girl he was 17 years old.
Palacio then allegedly asked if she was a virgin and if she had experienced an orgasm, the complaint states. Palacio asked for a nude picture of the girl.
The complaint states that between March 1 and March 4, Palacio sent the girl more than 100 messages about loving her, about having sex with her and asking for nude pictures of her.
When the girl told Palacio she had investigated the profile photo he had sent her, Palacio became angry, the complaint states, and told her he would publish the online messages to show she was a child having an inappropriate conversation about sex. He then told the girl he had been pursuing her for two years and fantasizing about her. Palacio then allegedly sent the girl pictures of herself taken by a family member, which "creeped her out," she told him.
The girl reported the messages to her mother, who called police. The girl told authorities that she was afraid to go to a sauna outside after dark because of the messages, and both the girl and her mother were concerned that Palacio was attempting to involve the girl in sex trafficking, the complaint states.
Police investigated the messages, which led them to a Facebook account under the name "Jesse James" that linked to an IP address belonging to Palacio. The complaint states that Palacio was known to a family member and had met the girl before.
Police executed a search warrant at Palacio's home and found numerous photos of the girl. When interviewed by police, Palacio admitted that he sent the girl graphic photos and messages he shouldn't have. Palacio told police that he concealed his identity to get the girl to talk to him, the complaint states. He also told investigators that he has had contact with other minors on Facebook.
In a letter to the judge, Assistant St. Louis County Attorney Jessica Fralich noted that while Palacio does not have a criminal record locally, he has a lengthy record elsewhere, including in Iowa, California and Georgia. Palacio's record includes violent crimes including robbery, battery, violation of protection orders and allegations of sexual assault, Fralich wrote. She also said her office is investigating a potential warrant for Palacio related to an escape from a halfway house in 2012.
Palacio is due back in court on Monday.