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Bond granted to accused sex offender

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- A Frederick County man accused of having sex with a 17-year-old girl he met through Facebook in November can go free on bond, a judge ruled Monday.

But Joseph Lawrence Monroe, 34, of 118 Country Park Drive, likely can't afford to pay the amount to make bail, his appointed attorney, Howard Manheimer, said in Frederick County Circuit Court.

Judge John E. Wetsel Jr. granted Manheimer's request for bond but set the amount at $25,000 secured. Manheimer had told Wetsel his client likely could not afford more than $10,000 and any amount above that would equal no bond at all.

A grand jury on Thursday indicted Monroe on one count of using a communications device such as a computer and the Internet to solicit sexual activity from a girl at least 15 years old but younger than 18 and proposed that he touch her genital parts. The indictment charges Monroe with committing the felony offense on Nov. 15. The panel also indicted Monroe on two counts of possession of child pornography, one of which is a second or subsequent offense. Both counts occurred Dec. 9, according to the indictments.

The grand jury also indicted Monroe on one misdemeanor count of committing consensual sexual intercourse with a juvenile on Nov. 20.

Authorities seized six cell phones, charges and a USB storage device from Monroe's home during a search of the residence Dec. 14 with regards to investigating the child pornography charges, according to a warrant filed in Frederick County Circuit Court.

Deputy W.S. Foster, of the Frederick County Sheriff's Office, responded to a complaint against a 30-year-old male having sexual intercourse with a 17-year-old female, the officer states in an affidavit filed for the search warrant. Foster made contact with the juvenile identified in the affidavit as "X" who advised him she met Monroe through Facebook. Monroe "friended" her on Facebook and acquired her cell phone number through the social networking Internet site, according to the affidavit.

"'X' stated that Joey started texting her wanting to meet her," the affidavit states. "'X' also stated that Joey would text her 'sexual comments,' and would 'text her about sex.' 'X' stated that she was reluctant to meet Joey because of the age difference."

The juvenile told Monroe her age and she knew he was in his 30s, according to the affidavit. The juvenile stated that on Nov. 20 Monroe asked to come to her house.
"'X' stated that she advised Joey he could, but that they were only going to talk," the affidavit states. "'X' stated that when Joey arrived at her house, they went up to her bedroom. 'X' advised me that she had sexual intercourse with Joey."

Foster states he confiscated the juvenile's cell phone she told the officer would contain multiple text messages between her and Joey "that were sexual in nature." The juvenile advised Foster he would find pictures of herself and Monroe on the cell phone, according to the affidavit.

Another deputy made contact with Monroe on Nov. 20 and interviewed the suspect at the sheriff's office. Monroe waived his Miranda rights, according to the affidavit. Monroe admitted to the deputy he knew the juvenile was under 18 and that they had sexual intercourse, but said the act was consensual, the affidavit states.

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