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Arizona man arrested on underage solicitation charge
ECSO deputies catch man after he believed he arranged online to meet 14-year-old girl for sex
1211 Schesselman Steven
The Effingham County Sheriffs Office arrested Steven Schlesselman on charges of seeking sex with an underage girl.

An Arizona man was arrested by Effingham County authorities Sunday night for attempting to meet an underage girl for sex.

Steven Schlesselman, 45, of Maricopa County, Ariz., solicited sex from what he thought was a 14-year-old girl, according to the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office. However, Schlesselman actually had been talking to a member of the ECSO’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, posing as an underage girl.

Schlesselman and the undercover agent met in a chat room and had multiple online conversations for several weeks, said ECSO spokesman Detective David Ehsanipoor. Schlesselman expressed his intention to travel to Georgia to have sex with the child, according to investigators.

“We have been talking to this guy for a while. There was no doubt (what his intention was),” Ehsanipoor said. “Throughout this investigation, he expressed his desire to have sex with young children.”

Schlesselman flew from Phoenix, Ariz., to Atlanta on Sunday afternoon, according to the ECSO. He landed at approximately 5 p.m. and called a phone number the undercover agent had given him.

“We wanted to see if he’d actually show up,” Ehsanipoor said. “We believe he flew all the way from Arizona just to meet this child.”

Investigators said Schlesselman rented a car and drove from Atlanta to Effingham County. He parked at a gas station on Highway 17 at Midland Road, the meeting place he had arranged with the undercover agent, and investigators approached him while he was sitting in the car.

“We asked, ‘What are you coming to do?’ He said, ‘I’m meeting a girl for dinner,’” Ehsanipoor said. “We asked, ‘And?’ He said, ‘That’s all.’ And we’re sitting there with our phones, with the chats (with him) on them.”

Schlesselman was charged with criminal attempt to commit child molestation and enticing a child for indecent purposes. He is being held in the Effingham County Jail.

The Effingham County Sheriff’s Office is a cooperative member of the Georgia Internet Crimes against Children (ICAC) Task Force. The ICAC Task Force program was created by the Department of Justice to help state and local law enforcement agencies enhance their investigative response to offenders who use the Internet, online communications systems or other computer technology to sexually exploit children.

“Protecting our children is one of the highest priorities at the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office, and we will continue to pursue these cases in the future with ICAC,” said Effingham County Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie.

The program is currently composed of 61 regional task force agencies across the nation and is funded by the United States Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Georgia’s ICAC Regional Task Force is supervised by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The Georgia ICAC Task Force is comprised of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies within the state of Georgia.