Jacksonville man accused of trying to meet child for sex

Juan Villarreal faces several charges, including soliciting child for sex

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ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – A Jacksonville man was arrested Thursday night after traveling to St. Johns County to try to meet a child for sex, deputies said. 

Christopher Juan Villarreal, 29, is charged with traveling to meet a child for sex, soliciting a child online for sex, soliciting a parent for sex with a child and unlawful use of a two-way communication device.

Earlier this week, a detective initiated an undercover online investigation targeting people who use the internet to prey on children, the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office said.

During the three-day investigation, Villarreal started talking to the undercover detective, who was posing as a mother and her 12-year-old daughter, and sent pornographic images, according to his arrest report.

Villarreal agreed to meet the two of them in St. Johns County so he could have sex with the 12-year-old, the arrest report states. But when he arrived early Thursday evening, he was, instead, met by detectives and arrested. 

One of Villarreal's neighbors said his arrest is extremely unnerving, considering she has a 16-year-old daughter. 

"I don't know what the government can do about this. I think that there should be more monitoring and more safety measures for what people can do," said the neighbor, who only wished to be identified as Maxine. 

The mother said keeping an eye out for online predators is something that she constantly warns her teenage daughter about.

"It's a monitoring world with your kids nowadays. The best thing you can do is sit down and talk to them," she said. "I tell her if it's not someone she knows, do not respond. And if it's someone that she did not initially contact, do not respond."

Maxine said she's keeping an even closer eye on her daughter's online use from now on.

"I try to monitor her," she said. "She doesn't have any secret codes that I don't know about, and I take her computer."

Villarreal was booked into the St. Johns County Jail, but was released on $15,000 bond Friday afternoon, jail records show.

The Sheriff's Office said the investigation is still ongoing. 

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