Wednesday, March 03, 1999

Net mate just wanted porn, prosecutors say

Man, 37, allegedly photographed teen

The Cincinnati Enquirer

William Meister
        To prepare for his latest scheme, prosecutors say, William Meister signed on to an Internet chat room and struck up a conversation with a 15-year-old girl.

        They say he convinced the girl that he cared about her by meeting her for free rides in his limousine, private photo sessions and sexual encounters.

        The Madeira man's real motive, they say, was to sell explicit pictures of her over the Internet.

        “This guy is a huckster,” Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen said Tuesday. “He led this young lady to believe there actually was an emotional attachment, when he was really just using her.”

        A grand jury reached the same conclusion Tuesday when it indicted Mr. Meister on 14 felony charges.

        Although Mr. Meister, 37, has been jailed several times over the years for fraudulent moneymaking schemes, the latest charges are by far the most serious.

        He is charged with corruption of a minor, illegal use of a minor in sexually oriented materials and pandering sexually

        oriented materials involving a minor. If convicted, he could face up to 57 years in prison.

        The indictment also names two men whom prosecutors describe as friends of Mr. Meister.

        They say one of them, Laszlo Bozso, drove the limousine that Mr. Meister used to impress the girl. On one occasion, they say, Mr. Bozso had sexual contact with the teen.

        The other man, Frank Burton, is accused of possessing nude photos of the girl.

        Prosecutors say the relationship lasted about one year and involved consensual sex on several occasions.

        Mr. Allen said it began when Mr. Meister had a conversation with the girl via an Internet chat room for teen-agers. After arranging a first meeting, Mr. Allen said, Mr. Meister and the girl began having sex in the limousine and other locations.

        He said Mr. Meister apparently convinced the girl he wanted a serious relationship with her when he really just wanted to sell her photos over the Internet.

        “There is every indication this was about business and marketing her image,” Mr. Allen said.

        Before his arrest Tuesday, prosecutors said, Mr. Meister was preparing to post the photos on a Web site he had created for that purpose. They said the site, called “NetPet,” would charge a fee to download the photos.

        Mr. Allen said investigators found photos of other children involved in sex acts when they searched Mr. Meister's home in Madeira.

        Prosecutors say the girl's father learned of the relationship when he discovered that Mr. Meister had sent her pornography via the Internet.

        Mr. Allen said the investigation remains open and additional charges may be filed.

        “This is a career criminal,” Mr. Allen said. “He makes his money by preying on people.”

        Mr. Meister's history of legal trouble includes arrests for ticket scalping schemes, theft, receiving stolen property and forging his mother's signature on bad checks.

        In 1987 and 1988, he spent 19 months in prison for violations of securities law. His most recent stint in prison resulted from a concert ticket scam.

        Mr. Allen said Mr. Meister's latest arrest is part of a national trend involving adults who target children on the Internet.

        “Parents have to be very vigilant,” Mr. Allen said. “We're starting to see a lot more of this.”


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