Milford man caught in federal sex sting

BOSTON – Federal officials have charged a Milford man with trying to set up a rendezvous with a 14-year-old girl in Watertown, Mass.

Karl W. Leeman, 46, has been indicted on charges that he tried to induce a minor to engage in sexual activity, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston.

Posing as the fictitious girl’s mother, federal authorities say they contacted Leeman through Craigslist and asked him to be part of a “taboo relationship” with the girl.

In February, Homeland Security Investigations’ undercover agents in Boston placed an ad on the online classified ad site.

Federal authorities said the man allegedly responded that he was interested, even after the “mother” disclosed her daughter was 14.

“Leeman proceeded to engage in more than 650 email communications with the purported mother, detailing the sexual activities in which he would engage with the minor ‘daughter,’” according to federal authorities.

On Feb. 27, Leeman allegedly traveled from his place of work in Acton, Mass., to a designated meeting place in Watertown, where he was arrested by Homeland Security agents.

At the time of his arrest, Leeman was allegedly carrying alcohol, bath products, lubricant and gifts of clothing, authorities said.

Leeman faces a statutory mandatory minimum term of 10 years in prison, a minimum of five years and a maximum of a lifetime of supervised released, and a $250,000 fine, if convicted, according to federal authorities.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, Bruce M. Foucart, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, made the announcement March 27.

The Milford Police Department helped federal authorities and so did Homeland Security Manchester, the Massachusetts State Police, and the Watertown Police Department.

The case is being prosecuted by Eve A. Piemonte Stacey, of Ortiz’s Major Crimes Unit.

The case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to protect children from exploitation and abuse.