Joseph Meahl, a registered sex offender from Wildwood, Florida, was arrested in a sting operation last Thursday after showing up at Sunrise Hotel in Broward County to allegedly have sex with three young boys. Meahl, 50, was purportedly tricked by two undercover federal agents into thinking he was meeting two dads willing to let him have sex with their three preteen sons.
During his first-appearance court session last week, U.S. Magistrate Judge Alicia Valle ordered Meahl to be held without bail while his case is pending. As a registered sex offender, Meahl faces charges for committing a felony offense involving a minor and attempting to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity. The press did not specify an attorney for Meahl.
According to court records, Meahl was added to the sex offender registry in 2000 after he was allegedly caught carrying child pornography in Colorado. He served two years and three months in federal prison for that offense.
Prior to his arrest last week, Meahl reportedly engaged two undercover agents who were posing as dads online. He thought he was meeting two dads who would let him engage in sexual activities with their sons, who he believed were 9, 11, and 13 years of age.
Court records state that Meahl allegedly brought a camcorder to film his sexual encounter with the boys, lubricant, condoms, and three superhero t-shirts that he intended to give to the boys as gifts. Francis Viamontes, the prosecutor handling the case told Judge Vale that Meahl “has a history of collecting child pornography . . . he’s now shown he’s a hands-on offender . . . [and] given the opportunity, he will harm a child.”
Viamontes said Meahl brought the camcorder to record his sexual encounter for watching again in the future to “continue to satisfy his perverse desires.” Viamontes maintains that Meahl’s recent alleged attempt to have sex with a minor shows that he can’t be rehabilitated. Meahl is due back in court this week.