Cape man accused of using Internet to lure children sentenced
A Cape Coral man is serving out a nine-month sentence after being accused last year of using the Internet to entice children into sexual acts.
Samuel Albert Ribel, 43, of 1765 Four Mile Cove Parkway, Apt. 1210, pleaded to one count of transmission of harmful material to a minor, a third-degree felony, on March 14 in a plea deal with the state. Ribel was adjudicated guilty.
He was sentenced to nine months incarceration, followed by four years of sex offender probation, according to Samantha Syoen, spokeswoman for the State Attorney’s Office.
Ribel was not prosecuted on one count of computer pornography-solicitation of a child, unauthorized use of a computer service, court records indicate.
“We are satisfied with the sentence or we would not have arranged this plea agreement,” Syoen wrote in an e-mail. “He is incarcerated and is designated as a sexual offender, which is a successful resolution to this case.”
Assistant State Attorney Carrie Pollock prosecuted the case.
Public defender Stephen Everett represented Ribel.
Everett did not return a telephone message seeking comment.
Ribel was arrested and charged on Aug. 10 in connection to Operation Traveling Man, an undercover operation initiated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The goal was to identify people who used the Internet to engage children in sexual acts or chatted online with children and then traveled to meet those children to engage in sexual acts.
According to his arrest warrant, Ribel engaged in chat sessions with an undercover officer who was posing as a 13-year-old girl between October 2007 and March 2008. During the sessions, he provided the “teen” with a photo of a man’s genital and described sexual acts that he wanted to do.
During an interview with FDLE agents, Ribel stated that he would never drive to meet anyone, that not all of his chats become sexual in nature and that he has 20 to 30 years of experience chatting with people of all ages, single and married. When asked about the photo, he said, “pictures are never of me.”
Ribel told the agents that there would be images on his computer, but that he did not know their ages. He said there may be images of girls as young as 5 or 6 years old, the warrant states. He acknowledged removing “young kids from his computer.” Ribel added that the chats were solely for research.
When asked if he thought he was doing anything illegal, Ribel responded, “I would say most likely yes, most likely there is a line that I probably crossed. It was a misforunate line that I crossed. What probably saved my (expletive) is that I never wanted to meet these people.”