St. Petersburg man accused of sending inappropriate messages to 16-year-old

Charles Joseph Penalosa

LARGO — Largo police arrested a 33-year-old St. Petersburg man about 1:43 p.m. Aug. 22 after he was accused of sending inappropriate messages to a 16-year-old female.

Police say the unidentified teenage girl told them she had received multiple unwanted and sexually inappropriate Instagram messages from an adult male she knew from her church.

Police say the man is reportedly on a committee at Abundant Life Church, 1550 S. Belcher Road in Largo, that deals directly with adolescent children.

Police say they identified the man as Charles Joseph Penalosa.

Police also say that during the “course of an online investigation” Penalosa reportedly admitted he was attracted to the girl and made statements that were inappropriate.

Detectives then contacted Penalosa, who during an interview reportedly made further admissions about the victim, as well as another victim that had not reported his actions to law enforcement.

Penalosa was booked into the Pinellas County Jail about 3:30 p.m. on charges of transmission of material harmful to a minor, use of computer to seduce, solicit or entice a child, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device. Bail was set at $12,000.

Anyone with information related to the case are asked to call Detective Lance Moore at the Largo Police Department at 727-587-6730.