WARWICK — RI State Police arrested a Connecticut youth baseball coach who allegedly used the internet to solicit a 14-year-old boy for sex at a Warwick hotel Friday.
Christopher Merchant, 33, of 259 Water St., Canterbury, CT, a vice president and coach with the Plainfield Little League in Plainfield, CT, was charged with: Indecent Solicitation of a Child (two counts); Electronically Disseminating Indecent Material to a Minor (three counts); and Possession of Child Pornography.
State Police report there is no evidence of any involvement with members of the Plainfield Little League.
The arrest stemmed from an investigation by members of the Rhode Island Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. During the month of January 2019, an individual later identified as Merchant engaged in a series of communications with a person he believed to be a 14-year-old male. The conversation quickly became sexually explicit and he allegedly disseminated indecent material and solicited a person whom he believed to be a 14-year-old male to engage in sexual activity at a Warwick hotel.
As a result of the investigation, members of the ICAC Task Force obtained a warrant for his arrest. On Jan. 25, 2019, ICAC Task Force members arrested Merchant at the hotel.
During the arrest, ICAC Task Force members located child pornography on Merchant’s cell phone. He ordered held at the Adult Correctional Institutions on $100,000 surety bail pending arraignment in District Court on Monday.