UPDATE: Registered sex offender faces new charges

8:23 PM, Dec 6, 2013   |    comments
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  • Manuel Salto's picture taken at the Kent County Jail.
  • Manuel Salto's picture on the Michigan sex offender registry.

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- He was already on the sex offender registry and now a Grand Rapids man is facing new charges for allegedly having sex with a 13 year old girl. 38 year old Manuel Salto was in court on Friday to learn the charges against him and WZZM 13 is learning more about the internet's role in this case.

Manuel Salto had little to say to the judge, as she explained the charges against him. However, investigators say Salto was chatting up a storm online with a 13 year old girl from Jenison who was reported missing Thursday morning.

"Based upon some emails and some text messages we were able to obtain the identity of this 38 year-old," says Lieutenant Mark Bennett with the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department.

Salto, a registered sex offender, was out on probation, after a previous conviction just last year.

"Through an interview with him we were able to determine the 13 year old was still at his residence," says Lt. Bennett.

Investigators say the two had been communicating online for several weeks.

"This was unbeknownst to the parent at the time," says Lt. Bennett.  "They'd also met up on a couple occasions prior to this."

WZZM 13 asked investigators if this is a situation involving technology, where children sometimes know more than the parents.

"Kids are very tech savvy these days," says Lt. Bennett.  "If a child is going to receive a gift of an I-Phone or I-Pad, know a little bit about how that works before you allow your child to work with it."

Salto faces two felony counts of having sex with a minor. He could face up to 22 years in prison if convicted.

The judge set Salto's bond at $100,000.  A preliminary hearing is scheduled for December 18th.

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