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Man posing as Italian boy on Facebook rapes O.C. girl, police say

September 27, 2011 |  4:16 pm

Photo: Jeffrey Thomas Sackman. Credit: KTLA-TV A 44-year-old Cathedral City man who allegedly posed as a 17-year-old Italian boy online is accused of raping an Orange County teen he met on social networking sites.

Jeffrey Thomas Sackman was arrested Friday on suspicion of a variety of sex crimes, including rape, unlawful intercourse with a minor and possession of child pornography, according to a statement from the Cathedral City police. 

The victim, a 15-year-old girl from Buena Park, met Sackman online when she was 13, and the two  communicated regularly on sites like Facebook, MySpace and mbuzzy, during which time she thought he was a teenager, Cathedral City police Lt. Chuck Robinson said.

In the past week, the girl told Sackman that she was having problems at home, and he offered to buy her a bus ticket to the Palm Springs area with the promise that he would help her get to her brother in Arizona, Robinson said.

Sackman took the girl to his home, where he gave her methamphetamine and sexually assaulted her repeatedly over several days, authorities said.

Police found the girl after her mother used cellphone records to pinpoint the Cathedral City address where Sackman lived. Sackman initially denied the girl was there, Robinson said, but after a neighbor said a girl matching the victim's description had been staying there, officers searched the home and found her in a back room, Robinson said.

Sackman has no history of sex crimes, but since his arrest, Robinson said a second potential victim living in Utah has come forward with similar allegations against him.

Sackman remained in jail Tuesday on $1-million bail, held on suspicion of rape, unlawful sex with a minor, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and two counts of lewd acts with a child, according to court records.

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-- Abby Sewell

Photo: Jeffrey Thomas Sackman. Credit: KTLA-TV

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