AG Charges Adams Man with Using Fake Facebook Profile to Lure Girls
William Ainsworth is arrested and charged in multiple cases after traveling to the home of a 14-year-old Butler County girl for sex.
An Adams Township man who pretended to be two different surfers from Florida is charged with using Facebook to entice young girls to send him explicit photos and arrange meetings for sex, state Attorney General Linda Kelly said today.
William R. Ainsworth, 53, of Raupp Lane, is charged with 68 felony counts, including involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, criminal attempted unlawful contact with a minor, criminal solicitation to commit unlawful contact with a minor, possession of child pornography and criminal use of a communications facility.
Agents arrested him in September after receiving information that he had traveled to the home of a 14-year old Butler County girl to engage in sex acts.
"We quickly discovered that there was much more to this case than the sexual solicitation of one girl," Kelly said.
"What we found was an intricate web of false Facebook identities that were used to establish online relationships with vulnerable girls, who were then manipulated into sending nude photos to Ainsworth—believing he was a young surfer living in Florida—or physically meeting Ainsworth for sex under the impression that those sexual encounters would help raise money so the girls could run away to Florida to be with their new online friend."
Kelly said Ainsworth invented Facebook personas for two young men named "Bill Cano" and "Anthony 'Rip' Navari." Both supposedly lived in Florida as surfers after dropping out of high school and running away from their families.
Investigators believe Ainsworth copied numerous photos of young men and surfers from other social networking sites to create the fake Facebook profiles.
As part of the scheme, Ainsworth posed as "Bill" and "Rip" to initiate online friendships with young people from throughout the region, Kelly said. Nearly all of the people he befriended are female, and he accumulated more than 600 Facebook "friends," she said. The false accounts are no longer online at the request of the attorney general’s office.
Kelly said Ainsworth used the "Bill Cano" profile to identify vulnerable girls. In some cases, Ainsworth's victims believed "Bill" attended their school before running away. In other cases, the victims responded to his online invitations because they shared multiple overlapping friends.
Kelly said Ainsworth used the persona of "Bill" to groom potential victims by asking about their interests, complimenting them about their physical appearance and discussing problems with school or family members to establish an emotional relationship to them. "Bill" then convinced the girls to send him nude or sexually explicit photos.
Ainsworth also manipulated the emotions of his victims by persuading them that "Bill" had died, Kelly said.
Using the persona of Anthony or "Rip" Navari—supposedly a step-brother or fellow surfer/friend of "Bill Cano"—Ainsworth concocted a story that Cano had been attacked by a group of people, hospitalized in a coma and died as the result of his injuries.
"This fake death triggered an outpouring of sympathy and grief within the group of young Facebook users who believed that 'Bill Cano' was their friend," Kelly said. "Ainsworth allegedly fueled this grief with posts on Cano's Facebook page and using it as a mechanism to help his new persona establish even deeper connections with the victims."
Kelly said Ainsworth also used "Rip" to introduce the girls to another fictitious character called "Glenn Keefer,” an adult from the Pittsburgh area who identified himself online as a "Sugardaddy looking for Sugarbabies."
According to the criminal charges, Ainsworth—posing as "Rip"—solicited potential victims to meet with "Keefer" for purposes ranging from stripping to sex. If the girls met him, "Keefer" supposedly was willing to send money to help "Rip" with his living expenses or aid the girls in running away to Florida to be with Rip.
Ainsworth is charged with alleged indecent contact involving seven different victims ages 13 to 15, Kelly said. In five of the cases, Ainsworth requested and received nude photos of the girls and in two of the cases, he met with them to commit sex acts, she said.
Some of the intended victims were as young as 12 when they were initially contacted, the attorney general added.
The criminal charges are the result of an investigation that involved interviews with more than 30 children, the execution of 18 search warrants and the review of thousands of pages of communications between Ainsworth and his alleged victims, Kelly said.
Victims identified during the investigation include girls from Butler, Allegheny and Beaver counties, along with a West Virginia girl who once lived in Allegheny County.
Ainsworth currently is awaiting trial in Butler County on 13 other felony counts related to his initial arrest in September, Kelly said.
Senior Deputy Attorney General William F. Caye of the attorney general’s Child Predator Unit will prosecute Ainsworth in Butler County.