Yaron Segal, a post-doctoral researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was arrested after flying to Grand Junction, Colo., with the intention of having sex with a woman and her two daughters, who he believed were 16 and 12 years old, authorities charge.
Segal, 30, arrived at the airport in Grand Junction on Wednesday of last week, according to The Smoking Gun. He thought he was there to meet a woman he'd met in an online chatroom. In fact, the person waiting for him was a female undercover agent.
Months earlier, Segal had been visiting Internet chat rooms with titles like childslavesex and ChildRapeTortureBrutality, motivating the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to engage with him online. Agent Vanessa Hipps entered the chat rooms, posing as the mother of two young girls. She got a response from Segal on Feb. 2, according to charges.
During the chat, we exchanged some personal information, and I indicated that I had two children, one under the age of sixteen (16) years old and one under the age of twelve (12) years old, Hipps affirmed in the federal complaint. The suspect immediately turned the conversation to sex, and indicated that he wanted to have sexual intercourse with the UC persona and both of her children.
During the second chat on Feb. 11, Segal said he was willing to travel from Massachusetts to Colorado for sex.
The two continued communicating for months. Segal sent pictures of himself naked, as well as a video of himself masturbating. He tried to arrange a phone call with the agent, but she rebuffed those efforts even after he sent her an online gift card for $100.The sum was returned to him, at which point he offered to use the money to buy a dildo.
On March 7, the Department of Homeland Security sent a summons to Segal via email, which was apparently missed or ignored.
On March 10, Segal successfully called the agent and told her that he intended travel to Colorado, and that he would bring sex toys for use with the children. He purchased a dildo, a strap-on and a vibrator online. He then booked a flight for March 28, and Hipps met him in the baggage claim area of the Grand Junction airport. He was arrested shortly thereafter.
Segal is a citizen of Israel and legal resident of Massachusetts, according to the federal complaint. He studied at Yale, where he worked on a project to convert wasted heat into useful electric energy. At MIT, he worked on a related project to create photovoltaic systems powered by alternative means.
The Boston Metro reports that Segal was charged with travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and travel with intent to engage in a sexual act with a person under 12 years of age. He is now in federal custody; prosecutors are pursuing pre-trial detention. If convicted, Segal could face a a prison sentence of 30 years and $250,000 in fines.