A New York man was sent to Lehigh County prison Saturday after he was charged with befriending an 11-year old girl online, picking her up at a local playground and raping her on two occasions at hotels in Hanover Township, Lehigh County.
Sandro Gustavo Zhinin, 33, of Brooklyn, met the girl on the Meet Me relationship website, then communicated with her via Snapchat and Skype using the name "Sam," according to charging documents filed in district court.
Zhinin was arrested by Pennsylvania State Police about 1 p.m. Saturday when he tried to meet the girl a third time at the Fourth Street Playground in Northampton, according to court papers.
He is charged with rape, statutory sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of minors and criminal use of a communication facility.
According to the documents, Zhinin first drove to Northampton from New York to meet the girl March 4, picked her up at the playground, took her to a Red Roof Inn in Hanover Township, Lehigh County, and raped her. He then dropped her off down the street from her house.
He picked her up at the playground again March 11, according to charging documents, taking her to the Scottish Inn in Hanover Township, Lehigh County, where he raped her again. When the girl told him she was getting text messages and phone calls from family members who were looking for her, he seemed to "panic" and drove her back to her neighborhood where he dropped her off, the documents say.
The girl's family had reported her missing to police, and when she returned home she told borough police officers that she had been picked up at the playground by a man she knew only as "Sam" and that he had sexually assaulted her, according to court papers.
The girl said she told Zhinin she was 11, according to the documents, and that she told him she was too young and didn't want to have sex when he took her to the hotels.
Police said in the charging documents that they were able to determine that Zhinin's credit cards were used to rent both rooms where the girl said she was assaulted. A medical expert determined the girl had injuries that were consistent with her version of events.
Zhinin was arraigned Saturday afternoon before District Justice Robert C. Halal and sent to Lehigh County Prison under $500,000 bail.
New York man accused of raping 11-year-old girl in Lehigh County Scott Kraus Matt Assad The Morning CallTweet