ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — An Altoona man is facing charges after he was accused of messaging and grooming a teenage girl for sex.
Benjamin Havens, 56, allegedly sent several messages to the teen on Facebook and received sexually explicit photos and videos of the underage girl. Altoona police learned of the messages on Sept. 19 during an investigation.
According to a criminal complaint, an officer saw messages on the teen’s cell phone between her and Havens. A search of the phone also found that prior conversations between the two had been deleted and were later recovered from a forensic download.
Police noted in court documents they were able to confirm the messages were from Havens through his Facebook profile picture and were familiar with him from previous investigations.
In the messages, Havens talks about wanting to have sex with the teen and asks for pictures, according to the complaint. Havens allegedly comments in one message “I’ll go to jail now” when talking about wanting the teen to stay with him.
Police said the messages continued when Havens offered to send the teen money and buy her food and clothes.
During an interview at a Children Advocacy Center, the teen told authorities she met Havens on Facebook and he messaged her first. She said she had sent Havens two sexually explicit photos but claimed he was grooming her.
Havens was arraigned Monday and taken to the Blair County Prison where he’s being held on $25,000 bail. He’s charged with felony child pornography, corruption of minors, sexual abuse of children and unlawful contact with a minor.