Rantoul man arrested over contact with 13-year-old

Rantoul man arrested over contact with 13-year-old

RANTOUL — A 50-year-old Rantoul man has been arrested for having inappropriate contact of a sexual nature with a teenage girl.

Rantoul police Sgt. Marcus Beach said Ralph Rittenhouse, who listed an address in the 1000 block of Briarcliff Drive, was arrested Thursday.

On Tuesday, the mother of the 13-year-old discovered that her daughter had a cell phone, which the mother had not purchased for her. On it, the mother discovered nude photos of a man and text messages of a sexual nature, Beach said. She contacted police that day.

Beach said police learned that Rittenhouse had purchased the phone for the girl after running into her at the library about a month ago. Beach said Rittenhouse and the girl used to be neighbors and that he has a child the same age as the girl.

"He ended up buying a cell phone for her. With that, they were calling and texting each other. Texts found on the phone were of a sexual nature, including nude photographs of him," Beach said.

Beach said using the cell phone, detectives posed as the girl and arranged to meet Rittenhouse at a location near her home on Wednesday. When he arrived, they arrested him for sexual exploitation of a child and indecent solicitation.

Beach said Rittenhouse gave police a statement in which he admitted that he was attracted to the girl.

Beach said police are still investigating.

Rittenhouse is expected to be formally charged Thursday afternoon.

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