Mars man charged in Facebook scheme targeting young girls

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A Butler County man was arrested Thursday and charged by the state Attorney General's office of running an elaborate Facebook scheme to solicit young girls to provide nude photographs of themselves and engage in sexual encounters.

William R. Ainsworth, 53, of Mars, created the personas of three different people, including that of two 15-year-old surfer boys in Florida.

"He was many different people to his intended victims," said Attorney General Linda Kelly. "The three personas he created were all connected and had a purpose."

Mr. Ainsworth was first arrested in September when agents received information that the man had gone to the home of a 14-year-old girl to engage in sexual activity.

"We quickly discovered that there was much more to this case than the sexual solicitation of one girl," Ms. Kelly said.

In creating the Facebook profiles, Mr. Ainsworth lifted pictures from other social media sites that featured young boys with well-defined abdominal muscles who were surfing and lying in the sand, according to the attorney general's office.

In an attempt to earn the girls' trust and sympathy, Mr. Ainsworth even killed off one of his personas -- that of a boy named "Bill Cano" -- and then created a new one "Anthony 'Rip' Navari" to console them, prosecutors said.

"They actually grieved," Ms. Kelly said. "You can see how important he became in their lives."

The case involves seven different victims, ranging in age from 13 to 15. According to the attorney general's office, Mr. Ainsworth received nude photographs of five of the girls, and with two other victims, is charged with meeting them for sexual activity.

Mr. Ainsworth is charged with 68 felony counts and will be tried in Butler County.


Paula Reed Ward: pward@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2620.


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