SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A Navy chief stationed in Jacksonville is accused of trying to arrange a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl who turned out to be an undercover agent, News 4 Jax reported on Wednesday.
Travis Deel, 39, was arrested in Sarasota County on July 17.
According to the report, Deel, who is assigned to the USS Philippine Sea at Naval Station Mayport, had traveled more than 260 miles away from the base to meet the “teenager” in Sarasota County.
Investigators say Deel met the undercover detective online and the detective told him they were a 14-year-old girl.
Deel and the detective exchanged phone numbers and text messages and Deel later sent them a sexually explicit photo of himself, the report states.
According to the report, Deel said he “never did anything like this before, especially with someone your age,” which indicated he was aware of her age and worried about getting in trouble, authorities said.
After his arrest, Deel told investigators he had purchased condoms at the Navy Exchange before driving to Sarasota, the report states.
Deel pleaded not guilty to three felony charges. He’s due in court Aug. 23.