For the second time in less than a week, DuPage County investigators and Metropolitan Emergency Response and Investigation Team [MERIT] partners joined forces to bring an alleged pedophile to justice before he could reach his intended minor target.
A Glen Ellyn man was arrested Jan. 16 following a month-and-a-half long investigation into sexually inappropriate online conversations he allegedly had with an individual he believed was a 14-year-old girl.
Bernardo Tello, 42, of the 500 block of Hillside Avenue, Glen Ellyn, was charged with Class 3 felony counts of indecent solicitation of a child-aggravated criminal sexual abuse and traveling to meet a minor, according to a DuPage County Sheriff’s Office news release.
DuPage County Judge John Kinsella set bond at $40,000. If convicted,Tello faces probation or two to five years in prison, the release stated.
During the investigation, Tello allegedly had sexually explicit online conversations with and arranged to meet who he thought was the 14-year-old girl at a Glen Ellyn restaurant. After meeting the girl, Tello allegedly intended to go to her home to have a sexual encounter. Tello was arrested shortly after arriving at the pre-determined location, the release stated.
During the investigation, police learned that Tello had an outstanding warrant from 1998 alleging theft, driving under the influence of alcohol and aggravated battery of a senior, authorities said.
“As a parent, knowing this behavior exists terrifies me,” DuPage Sheriff James Mendrick said in the release. “This is one of the reasons the MERIT Task Force was created. Cohesion and teamwork has improved DuPage County Law Enforcement and I’m proud that the Sheriff’s Office is part of this team.”
The DuPage County Sheriff’s Office Digital Forensics Unit worked the investigation of Tello alongside MERIT partners from departments in Addison, Glen Ellyn, Darien, Villa Park, Hinsdale and Elmhurst.
“Sexual crimes are, by their very nature, among the worst of crimes, with perpetrators leaving their victims to suffer not only at the time of the assault but possibly for years to come,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said in the release. “With that in mind, I commend our MERIT Task Force for their proactive approach in scouring the Internet for those who would prey on our children just to satisfy their deviant sexual desires.”
On Jan. 9, a Bolingbrook man was arrested and charged after a month-long investigation into sexually inappropriate online conversations he was having with someone he believed to have been a 14-year-old girl.
Anthony Monico, 25, of the 300 block of Whitewater Drive, was charged with felony counts of indecent solicitation of a child and grooming, according to a DuPage County Sheriff's Office news release. The online conversations were, in fact, held with a police detective.
In addition to having sexually explicit online conversations, Monico attempted to meet the girl at a hotel for sex, according to the release.