Craigslist Casual Encounter May Cost Soldier His Career and his Freedom
SAN ANGELO, TX -- 36-year-old Geovanni Severin was a soldier training in intelligence at Goodfellow Air Force Base. He’d been in San Angelo only a month when he went online to Craigslist casual encounters and started an email conversation with what he thought was a woman seeking a man.
What he stumbled into was a Department of Public Safety sting called Neverland II designed to catch adults in search of sex with minors. Severin was found guilty of online solicitation of a minor under 14 by District Judge Jay Weatherby Thursday afternoon.
Testimony in the one day trial before the judge showed Severin was actually communicating with three male undercover officers. The officers testified that they set up the Craigslist profile and monitored the email responses. They said they told Severin the undercover female profile was actually a 13 year old girl.
According to testimony, Severin continued to communicate with the undercover even after learning her age. He emailed her a picture of his private parts. The undercover officers sent Severin a picture of a 25-year-old female officer.
Severin took the stand in his defense. He testified that he thought the person he was communicating with was lying about her age and was playing a game with him, so he played along. Severin told the judge he was curious and agreed to meet the girl. He testified that if she really was 13, he was going to send her home.
Severin said meeting her was a bad mistake.
Testimony showed on December 21, 2016 Severin drove from his room on Goodfellow Air Force Base to the parking lot at the bowling alley on Knickerbocker Rd. Undercover officers arrested him at the scene.
Judge Weatherby is set to sentence Severin when the trial resumes Friday morning in the Tom Green County Courthouse. Severin is facing two to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 or probation.