[StBernard] Man guilty of online sexual advances to cop posing as teen

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Tue Sep 20 11:43:31 EDT 2011

Man guilty of online sexual advances to cop posing as teen
By Eric Heisig
Staff Writer
Published: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 6:48 p.m.
A Chalmette man was convicted in a Terrebonne Parish courtroom Wednesday of
engaging in online sexual conduct with a state trooper posing as a
14-year-old girl and now faces up to 17 years in prison.

Michael Maggio, 30, was arrested in late March for conversations made with
the trooper, police said. Maggio also sent videos to the trooper that showed
him exposing himself and masturbating.

Maggio, a former employee of Waffle House, was convicted by a six-member
jury in District Judge John R. Walker's courtroom of indecent behavior with
a juvenile and computer-aided solicitation of a minor. Sentencing is
scheduled for Oct. 12.

During the two-day trial, State Police Senior Trooper Charity Knoblock
explained the process of investigating the crimes based on the Internet. Two
videos, captured on Knoblock's computer in January, show Maggio typing
messages to the undercover officer and broadcasting a live video of himself
while masturbating. As the videos were shown to the jury, Maggio watched and
consistently shook his head.

The videos also show Maggio attempting to have Knoblock, who was using
another name, send explicit photos of herself. Knoblock sent one photo to
him, the video shows, though it was taken when she was in high school.

Knoblock said she only knew Maggio's name due to the Yahoo! chat profile he
had set up. After the conversations, Knoblock said she contacted Yahoo! and
got Maggio's Internet provider address, which ultimately led to locating and
arresting him.

Maggio's attorney, Kathryn Lirette, did not return a phone call placed
Wednesday afternoon. Prosecutors said Maggio took the stand during the
trial, explaining that he was under the assumption that the person he was
chatting with was an adult role-playing as a 14-year-old girl. However,
Knoblock said during her testimony that Maggio thought he was talking to a

"He was always under the assumption that he was talking to a 14-year-old
girl," Knoblock said.

A taped interview with Maggio after he was arrested and brought to
Terrebonne Parish was also played for the jury. On the tape, Maggio
expresses regret about the situation but says he did not ever think he was
talking to a child.

"I didn't know I was talking to a 14-year-old girl," Maggio said, adding
that he found the undercover trooper in an adult chat room. "I made a
mistake. I'll never go into a chat room again. It was never my intention to
mess with a child."

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Dennis Elfert and
Sam Markus.

First Assistant District Attorney Carlos Lazarus said these cases,
investigated out of Troop C's office in Gray, do not usually make it to

"We usually get pleas," Lazarus said. "It's very strange that we didn't get
a plea in this case."

Staff Writer Eric Heisig can be reached at 857-2202 or
eric.heisig at houmatoday.com. Follow him on Twitter @TerrebonneCrime.

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