Wilmerding man charged with sexual assault of teens

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Allegheny County police have charged a Wilmerding man with sexually assaulting two girls and a boy in the past year and believe there might be more victims.

Melvin Amodeo, 25, of Middle Avenue used several aliases to contact the teenagers through three social media networks, Lt. Jeffrey Korczyk said Friday during a news conference in Point Breeze.

Lt. Korczyk said it was unusual to have a case with young victims of both genders.

"I think that's what's really alarming to us is this guy is preying on both males and females," he said.

He said the suspect would start with texting, progress to sharing pictures and then evolve to personal meetings and sexual contact.

Amodeo was first arrested earlier this month in connection with a 15-year-old female victim whose mother found disturbing photographs on the girl's cell phone and contacted police in August.

Amodeo was released on $10,000 bond, Lt. Korczyk said, and police believe he committed at least one other assault after being let out of jail.

Police arrested Amodeo on Tuesday and accused him of assaulting a 14-year-old girl.

Detectives charged him Thursday -- while he was being evaluated in the Allegheny County Jail's behavior clinic -- with the assault of a 15-year-old boy.

His bond was set at $100,000 straight.

In executing search warrants as part of the investigation, police found hundreds of images of child pornography, Lt. Korczyk said.

The lieutenant said the investigation is ongoing and urged parents to keep tabs on their children's social media activities.

In the cases investigated by police, Amodeo is alleged to have used Facebook, Kik and Meetme.

An affidavit supporting charges in the most recent case said Amodeo sent a friend request to the 15-year-old boy on a Meetme account in January or February 2012.

The two conducted "normal private messaging chats" for a time, but after a month or so the messages turned sexual, the affidavit said. In May or June 2012 the two met and went to Amodeo's house, where they engaged in sexual behavior, according to the affidavit. They did so again Tuesday after texting one another, when police barged in and arrested Amodeo.

Amodeo has been in trouble with police several times. In 2009, he pleaded guilty to a felony charge of possession of a firearm. A year earlier, two charges of attempted homicide had been brought against him in March, though they were later dropped.

neigh_east

Jonathan D. Silver: jsilver@post-gazette.com.


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