#minorsextrafficking | Accused Child Sex-Trafficker From Forest Hills Charged By Feds

FOREST HILLS, QUEENS — A Forest Hills man who stands accused of repeatedly coercing a child into having sex with him was formally hit with sex-trafficking charges on Thursday, federal authorities said.

A federal indictment unsealed this week details accusations Manuel Moretti, 39, met a 13-year-old online and arranged for the child to cross state lines to come to his Forest Hills home. He did so at least four times for the purpose of having sex, the document states.

Moretti is also accused of giving the child fake identification to “facilitate” future sex meet-ups, the indictment states. He also contacted the child over Snapchat for sexual activity in December — after being interviewed by the FBI, federal prosecutors said.

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FBI assistant director-in-charge, Michael Driscoll, said that this case is a reminder for children, and parents, about the dangers of the internet.

“Unfortunately, we can’t stop these crimes from happening because the internet allows sexual predators direct access to victims. We’re asking parents to start a conversation with their children about being safe online,” he said in a statement.

Find out what’s happening in Forest Hills with free, real-time updates from Patch.

Moretti was hit with six charges connected to the Mann Act, a federal law that — among other things — criminalizes interstate sex-trafficking, according to federal prosecutors.

He could face a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison if convicted, officials say.

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