Arraignment delayed in cyber-sex case

Arraignment again was delayed for a 64-year-old Holmes Beach man accused of using Facebook to solicit a child for unlawful sexual conduct.

Ronald Littlehale was scheduled to answer allegations of sexually-related crimes in DeSoto County on Dec. 12, a court date delayed from Nov. 29. On Dec. 12, the arraignment was again postponed — until 9 a.m. Jan. 10.

Littlehale was arrested in Manatee County on Nov. 9 on a warrant from DeSoto County, where the sheriff’s office worked the case against him.

A spokesman for the DCSO said Littlehale was arrested for soliciting a child by computer for unlawful sexual conduct, transmitting by electronic device harmful material to a minor and transmission of pornography by electronic device. A DeSoto County Clerk of the Circuit Court website shows that Littlehale faces 13 felony charges.

Authorities began investigating Littlehale after a DeSoto County resident informed deputies of suspicious activity on her Facebook account — a stranger had contacted her about a photograph of herself as a child.

Investigators with the DCSO, part of a central Florida task force on Internet-related crimes, initiated a sting. They created Facebook accounts with profiles for 13-year-old females and allegedly were befriended by Littlehale.

Littlehale was taken into the Manatee County jail in an arrest that involved the Holmes Beach Police Department, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and the Jacksonville County Sheriff’s Office, as well as the DCSO.

Littlehale, as of Dec. 13, remained in the DeSoto County jail.

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