BUFORD - Federal documents allege that Kenneth Chase struggled with pedophilia tendencies for years.
The 61-year-old's predilection for pre-teenage girls drove him to a parking lot near the Mall of Georgia on Saturday afternoon, where he expected to meet an 11-year-old girl and her mother but was instead surprised by police and FBI agents, according to a federal affidavit.
Chase, a Gainesville resident who works for a high-end motorcycle manufacturer in Dahlonega, is charged with enticing a child to engage in sex via a Yahoo! chat room. He faces a minimum of 10 years in federal prison without parole, said U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Patrick Crosby.
Chase remains in federal custody at an undisclosed location. A federal judge will decide in a Thursday morning hearing in Atlanta if Chase is fit for bond.
Stephen Emmett, an Atlanta FBI Special Agent, said the case is being handled at the federal level because the Internet was involved. Acting as the Safe Child Task Force - a multi-agency initiative covering much of North Georgia - the FBI arrested Chase in Buford about 3 p.m. Saturday with help from Morrow police.
"Those are very serious charges, with a very lengthy prison sentence associated with them," Emmett said. "This all began in an Internet chat room."
Authorities say Chase did much of his chatting - including sexually explicit requests for interaction with an 11-year-old girl - from his work computer.
Chase first contacted an undercover FBI agent, who was posing as a 33-year-old divorced mother, in a Yahoo! chat room called "Fetishes 14" last May. Over the course of several conversations, Chase discussed his latent desire for sex with pre-pubescent girls and proposed he meet with the fictitious mother and her daughter Saturday near the Mall of Georgia, according to the affidavit.
In a conversation dated March 5 this year, Chase allegedly wrote, "Please tell me once more that you are just a mom who is wanting her daughter to find out about sex ... no surprises or bad stuff and this is about the fun and erotic feelings," the affidavit says.
Chase was apprehended immediately upon his arrival in the parking lot of a Buford cosmetics store Saturday, said Emmett.
During interviews, Chase admitted he was in Buford to meet with a woman and her daughter for sexual purposes, authorities said.
A phone message left at Chase's Cedar Court residence was not returned Monday. He is not married but is involved with a younger girlfriend, according to the affidavit.
A manager at Chase's Dahlonega-based employer, Hawg Halters Inc., declined comment.
Chase works in customer service and tech-support at the aftermarket motorcycle manufacturer, authorities said.