Saturday, July 08, 2000

Man indicted in rape of girl

He met 13-year-old in telephone chat room, prosecutors say

By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The man and girl met on a telephone chat line and exchanged beeper numbers, starting a relationship prosecutors say was inappropriate and ultimately illegal.

        Michael Moeggenberg, 20, of Cloverdale Avenue, Springdale, was indicted Friday on a rape charge. If convicted, he could go to prison for a decade. He is accused of attacking a 13-year-old after meeting her in a telephone chat room and paying a cab driver to bring her to him.

        Prosecutors say the rape occurred March 24. But the girl did not report it until about two months later, according to Prosecutor Mike Allen's office, when she was being questioned by de tectives and her parents about being a chronic runaway. The girl's mother said she 2remembered seeing bruises on her daughter's neck, arms and legs.

        The girl pretended to be older than 13, officials said. But because prosecutors say the sex was forced, neither her age nor how old Mr. Moeggenberg thought she might have been were factors in the decision to charge him.

        Authorities said the girl was in Price Hill with other people she met in the chat room when Mr. Moeggenberg paged her and paid the taxi to pick her up.

        Mr. Allen said the incident points to the dangers teen-agers can encounter when they “meet” strangers anonymously in such chat rooms.

        “Parents and guardians should take note,” he said, “that this dangerous liaison apparently resulted from an unsupervised chat line introduction between an eighth-grader and a grown adult.”


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