Plainfield Little League Coach Re-Arrested on Federal Sex Charges

A Plainfield Little League coach accused of trying to solicit a teen for sexual activity in Rhode Island has been re-arrested on federal charges.

Christopher Merchant, 33, of Canterbury, Connecticut, allegedly traveled to Rhode Island to engage in sexual misconduct with a person he believed to be under the age of 16, according to a press release from the District of Rhode Island Attorney's Office.

Merchant was re-arrested on federal charges related to initial accusations brought by Rhode Island State Police on Jan. 25.

On Wednesday, Merchant was charged with traveling to engage in illicit sexual activity, transfer of obscene material to a person under the age of 16 years, receipt of child pornography, and possession of child pornography, the release states.

Following these charges, he was detained in federal custody.

Last week, Rhode Island authorities charged Merchant with two counts of indecent solicitation of a child, three counts of electronically disseminating indecent materials to a minor and possession of child pornography.

The arrest stemmed from an investigation by members of the Rhode Island Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, police said.

During the month of January, investigators said a man, later identified as Merchant, engaged in a series of communications through an online dating app with a person he believed to be a 14-year-old boy.

Last week, ICAC Task Force members arrested Merchant at a Warwick, Rhode Island hotel in which he was allegedly expecting a 14-year-old boy when police arrived, police said. During the arrest, Task Force members found child pornography in a Dropbox account on Merchant's phone as well as images of boys the defense stated he knew from his work with the Little League organization.

Officials said Merchant was the vice president and coach of the Plainfield Little League. At this time, there no evidence of any involvement with members of the this little league, according to police.

Effective last week, Merchant has been suspended from all activities in the little league pending the outcome of both state and federal investigations.

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