A sordid tale about online illicit sexual activity and the alarming potential for more unfolded in Circuit Court this week when a Harrisonburg man admitted his guilt in a soliciting a 16-year-old Floyd County High School student into posing nude, masturbating and more in front on an web-based camera that streamed her actions over the Internet.
It began in February of last year when the underage girl lied about her age to join a web site devoted to sexual fetishes. She said she was 18. She wasn’t.
Online, she met a 45 year old Kent P. Passarelli, who worked at Lowe’s. He used at least two anonymous “handles” to hide his name and started exchanging sexual-oriented messages with someone he said he believed was 18 but she later admitted to him that she was 16.
Learning he was dealing with a child, however, did not stop him. He urged her to appear before her online camera nude and performing graphic sexual acts. She did so.
Their actions continued from February through November of 2015 before they arranged a meeting to meet in person for more sexual activity with each other. It was set to happen but a friend of the girl told the Floyd County school cop, a deputy sheriff, about the meeting and investigators moved in, seizing her tablet computer and wireless phone and tracing the illicit online affair to Passarelli, who was arrested and indicted by a Floyd County grand jury with 20 counts of child pornography and solicitation on June 1.
On Tuesday of this week, Passarelli pleaded before Circuit Judge Marc Long to child pornography and sexual solicitation of a child. He will be sentenced three months from now and faces up to 40 years in prison.
This happens more often than one thinks, even in a rural area like Floyd County.