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Erie Man Waives Charges on Soliciting Sex From a Minor

A Pennsylvania man charged with soliciting sex from a minor waived his right to a preliminary hearing Friday during his appearance in Marshall County Magistrate Court.

Saul Vega Jr., 41, of Erie, who allegedly met a 13-year-old Glen Dale girl for sex, will next appear before the Marshall County Circuit Court at a future date.

Vega faces two counts of soliciting a minor and traveling to engage the minor in prohibited sexual activity, as well as a charge of sexual assault in the third degree.

On Friday, Magistrate Mark Kerwood accepted Vega’s waiver of the preliminary hearing and denied a motion to reduce bail.

Vega’s attorney, Brett Ferro, had requested that the court reduce Vega’s bond from $250,000 to $100,000. Vega remains in custody of the Northern Regional Jail in Moundsville.

According to police records, Vega made contact with the Glen Dale girl on a dating website and met her in May. The girl later told police that she had been sexually assaulted and had listed herself on the site as being 18 years old.

Investigators then took over the girl’s online profile, and Vega communicated with police, apparently believing he was in contact with the girl. Vega allegedly said he had found out about the girl’s real age before proceeding to send her sexually explicit messages.

Vega allegedly continued sending explicit messages and asking for pictures in June. Using the account, investigators staged a fake meetup with Vega, where he appeared with beer, a pack of condoms, a bottle of lubricant and a smartphone.

Vega was immediately detained by West Virginia State Police and federal law enforcement agents. When questioned, he allegedly admitted that he planned to meet the girl he thought he was messaging and had planned to engaged in sexual contact with her.

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