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Lakeland Man Arrested For Luring a 16-Year-Old Girl To Have Sex With Him Through an Online Relationship

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PCSO arrested 36-year-old John Waldau of Savannah Avenue, Lakeland for having sex with a minor, whom he groomed on-line through sexually explicit communication. He was arrested on December 31st and charged with the following:

* One count sexual activity older than 24 with a victim 16 or 17 (F2)
* Two counts transmitting material Harmful to a minor (F3)
* One count  unlawful Use of a 2-way communication device (F3)
* One count traveling to meet after using a computer to lure a child (F2)

Waldau is being held in the Polk County Jail in lieu of $40,000 bond.


Detectives began investigating when two tips were received from NCMEC (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children) regarding 3 sexually explicit images of an unknown girl being transmitted on Facebook Private Message.

Through investigative means detectives were able to identify John Waldau of Lakeland as having possession of the sexually explicit photos. Detectives learned that Waldau began an online relationship with the minor whom he had known through another relationship with an adult. He cultivated and transitioned the online relationship into a sexually explicit one that led to sexual intercourse occurring at his home at least 3 times. He sent multiple nude images of himself and asked her to send sexually explicit images of herself, which she did.

On December 31, 2018, detectives conducted an interview with the 16-year-old victim. The victim disclosed to detectives she and 36-year-old John Waldau had engaged in sexual intercourse during the summer of 2018. She also told detectives she exchanged sexually explicit photos with Waldau.

Also on the 31st, detectives located Mr. Waldau at his residence. Mr. Waldau admitted that he and the 16-year-old victim had engaged in sexual intercourse 3 times, all at his residence, without a condom, which he further said he knew was wrong.

Mr. Waldau stated the victim would sneak out to see him, without the knowledge of others late at night or would tell others that she was going to a friend’s house. Mr. Waldau also said he and the victim did exchange nude photographs/videos over Facebook Messenger and he knew it was wrong but couldn’t stop himself.

Mr. Waldau has been employed with the City of Lakeland for 18 years and works in the Public Works Department.

“Waldau is a classic sexual predator who cultivates a relationship with a child online and then turns that relationship into a sexually explicit one. He knowingly and cunningly took advantage of this girl. We encourage parents to actively monitor their children’s online activities so they can help protect their children from predators like Waldau.” – Grady Judd, Sherriff

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