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Bradenton man accused of impregnating 12-year-old girl

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Zachrey McDowell is charged with lewd & lascivious battery. Manatee Co. Jail booking photo Zachrey McDowell is charged with lewd & lascivious battery. Manatee Co. Jail booking photo
BRADENTON, FL (WFLA) - A Bradenton man is accused of impregnating a 12-year-old girl he met on Facebook.

The crime highlights the dangers of the internet, worse than any virus or malware you might come across.

The Bradenton case started when the 12-year-old girl, diagnosed at Manatee Memorial Hospital with a bladder infection also found out, she is pregnant.

Manatee County deputies relayed the girl told them she'd had sex with 31-year-old Zachrey Mcdowell, earlier this year.

She told deputies she met him through Facebook.

Parents we spoke to in Largo are outraged.

“It’s atrocious. I don't think anybody should ever do that to a child and I think parents should keep an eye on their Facebooks a little more, or social media in general,” said Jake Whetstone.

“That is very sad. I'm not shocked. It's very sad and the 30-year-old should be thrown away, I mean thrown in jail with the key thrown away,” said Jeannie Thomasino.

The courts will decide if Mcdowell is guilty or innocent.

An FBI spokesman says there are plenty of crooks just waiting to take advantage of a young person. “Parents, the guardians, have to do the due diligence and they have to stay on top of what's happening with those kids,” said Dave Couvertier.

Couvertier stresses the fact, 11, 12 or 13 years olds are no match for criminals surfing for victims. “There are people out there. There are child predators out there, that, that's all they do all day long is figure out ways to cultivate children,” he said.

Manatee deputies claim the 12-year -old had protected and unprotected sex with Mcdowell 10 times, and that the pair communicated over Facebook the past 4-5 months.

When he asked for sex, she agreed.

When told of the pregnancy, they say he replied, “So who all you told? Hope nobody,” written in internet code.

The FBI representative equates a child going on the internet unsupervised to allowing a child to go to the roughest neighborhood at two in the morning.

He suggests talking with your kids about internet safety at an early age and parents installing monitoring software to keep track of their on-line habits.

Mcdowell is charged with lewd and lascivious battery. He's out on $7,500 bond.

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