LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - A Leesburg man accused of attempting to meet a teenage girl for sex pleaded to a judge Monday to allow him to see his two teenage children.
Investigators said the suspect, 38-year-old Jonathan Mahowald, sent naked pictures to someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl, but was actually an undercover officer. They said Mahowald asked for nude photos in return.
Mahowald was armed when he went to Port St. Lucie to meet what he thought was the teenager for sex, deputies said.
In court on Monday, detectives testified that the handgun was loaded with hollow point bullets and had a round in the chamber.
Investigators said Mahowald placed an ad on the a website seeking young women.
An undercover agent posing as a 14-year-old girl responded.
Investigators said that, after sending nude photos and asking for explicit photos in return, Mahowald told the undercover agent that he "previously has had underage girls send nude photos."
The 38-year-old also told the undercover agent he was the father of three, including two young girls.
He allegedly said, "My 12 year old doesn't have a figure but my 13 year old has a good one."
Eventually, they said, he drove to Port St. Lucie to meet the teenage girl at a McDonalds to have sex with her in a van.
When he arrived, investigators found him carrying a 9 mm handgun in his waistband.
Mahowald was originally arrested in July on state charges and is now facing federal charges.
His wife was in court and was prepared to allow him back in the home with a son and daughter. His other daughter is living somewhere else.
But the judge said there were no conditions she could place on Mahowald to reasonably protect the community.
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