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Man Pleads Guilty to Coercing Girl He Met at Anime Con

posted on 2011-07-07 17:40 EDT
33-year-old man allegedly met 13-year-old girl at Maryland event in 2010

A 34-year-old man from Silver Spring, Maryland pleaded guilty on Wednesday to coercing and enticing a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity, after meeting the 13-year-old girl at "an anime and gaming conference" last year.

According to the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland, Michael Allen Alper was already a convicted sex offender when he met the girl at the conference at a hotel in Oxon Hill, Maryland, in February 2010. Alpher was 33 years old at the time, and he had just gotten out of probation a month earlier. He allegedly befriended the girl on Facebook and through mobile phone conversations under the name "Michael Allen," and then engaged in sexual explicit conduct twice in the following month.

According to attorney's office, the girl later discovered Alper's true identity when a friend found his sex offender registration under his full name. Alper allegedly proceeded to create another fictitious identity online and contacted the girl again, "lying about the charges that led to the sex offender conviction."

Under his plea agreement, Alper agreed to register as a sex offender where he lives, works, and studies. If the court accepts the plea agreement, Alper will be sentenced to between 10 and 14 years in prison. The court has scheduled his sentencing for October 28.

Alper had been convicted of statutory rape with another girl whom he met online in 2003 in Virginia. He was sentenced to three years in prison (all but six months suspended) and three years of probation.

Katsucon took place in a hotel in Oxon Hill in February of 2010.

Katsucon has provided Anime News Network with the following statement regarding the incident:

We at Katsucon have just recently been made aware of the case involving a Katsucon attendee pleaded guilty to coercing a minor into criminal sexual activity several weeks after first meeting the minor at our convention.

We would first like to express our sympathies and regret to the minor in question and the minor's family that they would have to be put through such a trying ordeal.

The staff and volunteers at Katsucon work tremendously hard to make our event one that is safe for young attendees. To this end, we reach out to parents and guardians to make them aware of our event and what we have to offer.

In all cases, we suggest that Katsucon is a convention that parents and guardians are encouraged to experience with their children, and when that's not possible, we always require that a parental consent form be completed so that the parents and guardians are fully aware that their child is attending our convention.

Katsucon also employs a full security staff that works in concert with the security staff in our convention facility to protect all of our attendees while they are in convention spaces. We make every effort to separate convention programming into age appropriate categories and enforce ID checks for convention events that are targeted at adult attendees.

Even will all of these measures, many times persons of a predatory nature are difficult to identify until it is too late.

In light of this event, Katsucon will make every effort to check our pre-registration attendee list against local and federally published sex offender registries and will prohibit attendance from those identified as a threat to our attendees in the hope to prevent an incident such as this from ever occurring again.

Sources: WJLA, Washington Examiner


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