Police say Melbourne man used dating app in relationship with teen
A 24-year-old Melbourne man who police said traveled to Orlando and West Virginia to stalk an underage boy he met through a widely-used gay dating app, was transferred to a Brevard County jail last week.
The teen’s parents alerted police last year after discovering texts and learning of the man’s continued sexual contacts with the boy, who is under 16, reports show.
Joseph Brown III was charged with 10 counts of lewd or lascivious battery, false imprisonment, aggravated stalking and battery after the parents of the boy contacted Melbourne police. Brown remains held at the Brevard County Jail Complex on a $75,000 bond, records show.
He was extradited to Brevard on Jan. 3 and had been held on a soliciting a minor charge in West Virginia involving the same teen after officers there took him into custody last July, reports show.
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Police said that in June 2018, the teen was in Melbourne when he met Brown through the dating app Grindr. Police said that the pair then began a “dating relationship,” and engaged in sexual acts until the teen began to fear Brown’s increasingly threatening demands. At least twice, police say, the teen was forced into sexual contact with Brown.
Brown also placed a tracking app on the teen’s phone and traveled to Orlando where the teen was with his parents. Police said the sexually demanding behavior continued when Brown traveled to West Virginia, to meet the teen again.
The parents learned about Brown and saw their son’s Snap Chat messages. The parents then searched for Brown, confronting him at a gas station. Brown was arrested after attempting to flee the parents, striking two cars and later getting in a car crash.
Police say the teen is receiving counseling.
No hearings have been set in Brevard. Brown has also been ordered to have no further contact with the teen or his family, court records show.
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