FLORIDA, USA — Editor's Note: A mugshot for Randy Coffelt was not immediately available.
Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement are looking for more possible victims after a Clay County man was charged with human trafficking.
FDLE arrested Randy Coffelt Jr., 44, of Middleburg for human trafficking, promoting a sexual performance by a child, using a minor in production of computer pornography, seduction of a child using the internet and transmission of child sexual abuse material.
The case was investigated jointly by FDLE and Pasco Sheriff’s Office.
The case began in April 2023 when Pasco Sheriff’s Office learned of allegations that Coffelt had forced a minor victim to commit various sexual acts with other adult males, who recorded the child sexual abuse.
Investigators say that Coffelt contacted the then-15-year-old victim on an online chat platform in December 2022 and began messaging her. The conversations became sexually explicit, FDLE says.
The investigation showed that Coffelt uploaded nude photos of the minor to a pornographic website and created a profile advertising her for sex. He then coordinated meetings between men from the website and the victim, directing the minor to engage in sexual activity with the men. He directed the men to film the sexual abuse of the minor and send him the videos as payment.
After an extensive investigation, agents secured a search warrant for Coffelt’s residence in Clay County.
On May 20, agents executed the warrant, seizing several electronic devices for forensic examination, and took Coffelt into custody. The Clay County Sheriff’s Office assisted with the arrest.
“This vile man groomed and then exploited a teenage girl by forcing her to perform sexual acts with other men in exchange for videos of the acts as payment. Thankfully, this predator is now behind bars and will face justice for his crimes.,” said Attorney General Ashley Moody.
“This suspect was a master groomer in the most reprehensible sense of the term, manipulating and exploiting a vulnerable minor for his own twisted gains," said FDLE Commissioner Mark Glass. "I am grateful to FDLE’s agents and analysts, the investigators at Pasco Sheriff’s Office, Pasco County victim advocates and the prosecutors at Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution for their work on this case to ensure that his days of preying on our youth are over."
The case remains active. Investigators believe that there may be additional victims, and anyone with information is urged to call FDLE’s Human Trafficking Hotline at 855-FLA-SAFE (855-352-7233) or the Pasco Sheriff’s Crime Tips Line at 1-800-706-2488.
Coffelt was booked into the Clay County Jail on a $375,000 bond.
WTSP reports that the Pasco County Sheriff's Office announced Thursday that Branden Sarno, 33; Sidney Smith, 68; and 29-year-old John Kehinde were also charged in relation to these crimes.
During a news conference Thursday, Sheriff Chris Nocco urged parents and guardians to be aware of what children are doing online and with whom they are speaking.