The Boyertown Area Times
Man admits to attempted contact with a minor
A Delaware County man has admitted that he used a social media app to contact who he believed was an underage girl, but in reality was an undercover law enforcement officer, for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity at a location in Gilbertsville, Montgomery County.
Christopher Joseph Shaw, 28, of the 300 block of South Chester Pike, Glenolden, pleaded guilty in Montgomery County Court to felony charges of unlawful contact with a minor and attempted involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a minor in connection with incidents that occurred in September 2021.
Judge Risa Vetri Ferman deferred sentencing so that court officials can complete a background investigation report about Shaw, who will undergo a psychosexual evaluation.
Shaw faces a possible maximum sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison on the charges. However, state sentencing guidelines could allow for a lesser sentence.
Shaw was permitted to remain free on bail pending his sentencing hearing later this year. As conditions of bail, the judge said Shaw is prohibited from having contact with minors and is prohibited from using the internet.
Regardless the sentence that Shaw eventually receives, he will face a lifetime requirement to report his address to state police in order to comply with Pennsylvania’s Sexual Offender Registration and Notification Act.
Shaw entered the guilty pleas shortly before jury selection was to begin for his trial.
The charges were filed against Shaw by agents with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General’s Child Predator Section.
Court documents indicate that in September 2021, an undercover agent assumed the identity of a 13-year-old girl on the social media platform Whisper. On Sept. 16, 2021, Shaw made contact with the undercover agent.
“Shaw initiated contact and indicated that he understood the purported minor’s age. Shaw quickly turned the conversation sexual and then sent a sexually explicit photo,” Eric J. Barlow, a special agent with the attorney general’s office, alleged in a criminal complaint.
During the online communications, Shaw stated he wanted to have sexual contact with the purported minor.
“Shaw then requested times to meet the minor and also requested the location of the minor,” Barlow alleged, adding after being provided location information Shaw requested to meet the minor on Sept. 17.
On the day of the arranged meeting, Shaw communicated “his excitement to meet the purported minor,” Barlow alleged. At one point, Shaw indicated traffic was bad and asked for a more specific location to pick up the minor and one was provided to him, court documents indicate.
Shortly after 6 p.m., a vehicle matching the description provided by Shaw was observed driving by the prearranged location in Gilbertsville and he communicated that he was in the neighborhood and driving around the block, according to the arrest affidavit. Shaw directed the purported minor to go to that location, authorities said.
When Shaw’s vehicle came to a complete stop at the intersection of Spruce and Oaks streets in Gilbertsville, state agents moved in and took Shaw into custody.
A charge of criminal use of a communication facility is scheduled to be dismissed against Shaw at time of sentencing.
Deputy Attorney General Michelle Lynn Laucella is prosecuting the case. Defense lawyer Cary Bevan McClain represents Shaw.