Florida

A retired Navy man entered a ‘family fun’ chat group. He was looking for child sex

An undercover online FBI setup ensnared a 48-year-old Tampa former Navy man who collected child pornography and searched online for parents willing to offer prepubescent daughters for sex.

And Charles Leis admitted telling NCIS investigators he’d been having online sexual conversations with boys and girls since 2013 or 2014.

Leis was sentenced Wednesday to 20 years in federal prison followed by 25 years of supervised release after pleading guilty to coercion or enticement of a minor and child pornography possession. He’ll also have to pay $16,500 in restitution.

According to Leis’ admission of facts, the Navy Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) first talked to him in June2017 about his online prowling. In online chats, he tried to get the father of 8 and 10-year-old girls to make them available for sex. The next month, he talked with a 13-year-old girl about having sex.

NCIS learned of Leis’ attempts at child sex because, in both cases, he was talking to undercover agents.

In February 2018, Leis told an NCIS special agent he was in treatment for sex addiction and had been having “sexually explicit conversations” online since 2009 using the name “Ray Koss.”

He told the NCIS investigator in 2013 or 2014, he “became interested in both male and female children and began engaging in sexual conversations with multiple underage individuals online,” his admission says. “Leis advised that he became interested in children because he became bored with engaging in sexual conversation with adult males and females.”

He also said he used the Kik instant messaging app, a common element in child pornography cases, to acquire and share child pornography while living in Port Richey and while traveling in the Carolinas. But Leis said he hadn’t had sex with children.

An examination of his laptop found 165 child porn videos, 716 child porn pictures and another 217 suspected pieces of child porn. A hard drive’s subdirectory named “17-” had over 3,800 picture and video files, including “images of children engaged in oral sex and vaginal penetration. Soem of the depictions include infants and toddlers.”

Despite being under such investigation by NCIS, Leis went back on Kik to a “family fun in Orlando” chat group. Upon finding a father in Orlando with 9-year-old and 11-year-old daughters, Leis asked “Are you active with them?”

An affirmative answer got Leis talking. He asked the father of the mother knew he’d molested the girls. The father answered, “Hell, no. Just a couple of uncles if you know what I mean.”

Leis: “Do you swap kids?... Can I be an uncle?”

Leis said he didn’t have kids to swap, but he enjoyed cunnilingus on them. He sent the father two pictures of girls 4 to 5 years old and another of a 6- to 8-year-old girl exposing themselves “Just showing you I’m real.”

It was about to get very real for Leis — the girls weren’t real and the “father” was an FBI special agent.

On Oct. 29, 2018, Leis told the special agent he didn’t think he could make a “play date” as he was married and lived in Tampa. The special agent told Leis his daughters sometimes played soccer in Tampa. Leis asked if the father owned a van: “I can’t host, but I know some places to park.”

They made arrangements for Leis to meet the mythical 11-year-old in Tampa. Leis requested she wear black lingerie and asked about stockings and high heels. But the day of the planned hookup, Nov. 2, 2018, Leis didn’t show at the agreed upon hotel. The FBI began looking into Leis and learned of the NCIS investigation.

While Leis had this conversation, he talked on the Kik app with the father of 6- and 7-year-old girls. He asked if the father would bring the girls to Leis to be molested and “Are they three-hole sluts?”

Leis was arrested Nov. 29.

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.
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