January 26, 2011 / 11:22 PM / 7 years ago

U.S. rapist used Facebook to meet young victims: police

NEW YORK, Jan 26 (Reuters Life) - A New York man described by police as a sexual predator who used Facebook to meet his victims pleaded guilty Wednesday to raping four underage girls.

David Bradt, 24, of Colonie, in northern New York state, who faces 12 years in prison, used the popular social networking site to try to lure hundreds of girls into encounters, police said.

“He was using Facebook as a means to meet underage girls,” Colonie Police Lt. Robert Winn said. “He was providing them with marijuana and soliciting them for sex as well.”

Winn said Bradt connected with girls on Facebook through a type of pyramid scheme.

“He started off by gaining one friendship with a girl,” Winn said. “Then he had access to her friend page and requested to be friends with all friends, using her as a reference point.”

When police in Colonie, a suburb of Albany, New York, arrested Winn in October, he had around 700 Facebook friends, most of whom appeared to be underage, they said.

He pleaded guilty to four counts of rape and is expected to be sentenced in Albany County Court in March.

Winn said police were first alerted to Bradt’s behavior when a mother of a 16-year-old girl learned of her daughter’s friendship with him and contacted police.

He was arrested at his home when police found online directions on his computer to the home of an underage girl he was meeting for sex.

Winn said all four victims Bradt was accused of raping were either 15 or 16 years old.

Police said Bradt was still under investigation, and there was a possibility he could face more charges.

Reporting by Aman Ali, editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Peter Bohan

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