WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — A Warwick man charged with sexually assaulting a Michigan teenager who had been missing for days appeared in court Wednesday.
Charles Morancey, 43, was arrested Tuesday night after police said they found the 15-year-old girl at a Main Avenue home.
Investigators allege the two met online and Morancey drove to Michigan to pick the girl up and bring her back to Rhode Island.
Morancey was arraigned Wednesday on four counts of third-degree sexual assault out of Warwick. Third-degree sexual assault is defined as having sexual relations with someone over the age of 14 but under 16—the age of consent.
The girl’s parents reported her missing on Friday, saying she left a note that she was running away from home. After she was located, the couple summed up their feelings in one word: relief.
“They found her. They got her, and we’re just all so happy that she’s coming home,” the girl’s father said.
“It’s been five days, only five days, and my daughter is coming home,” he continued. “Other parents…they don’t ever get to see their children again.”
Warwick Police Chief Rick Rathbun said his department was contacted on Tuesday by the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office, which had developed a lead that the missing teen may be at an address in Warwick. The girl was found alone and taken into protective custody.
Detectives interviewed the girl and based on that information determined they had probable cause to charge Morancey, according to Rathbun. Morancey was later taken into custody during a traffic stop while the girl was taken to the hospital out of an abundance of caution.
In light of what happened, Rathbun advised parents to keep an eye on their kids’ social media activity.
“Sometimes there’s not dark messaging, it’s not a specter of a person that’s online—it’s someone who’s posing as someone who’s friendly,” Rathbun explained. “They’re not giving indications to that juvenile of the dangers they’re facing, but I would submit if you have a child and they’re communicating with people who aren’t part of their neighborhood, part of a sports group or a school community, then that’s probably a red flag.”
The judge on Wednesday revealed that Morancey was wanted as a fugitive from justice in Michigan on felony counts of accosting children for immoral purposes and use of a computer to commit a crime. He said that while the charges are serious, they’re not capital offenses, meaning he couldn’t hold Morancey without bail.
Morancey’s bail was set at $50,000 double surety on the Michigan charges and an additional $25,000 surety for the sexual assault charges. He was ordered to have no internet access and no contact with anyone under the age of 18.
Morancey is fighting extradition to Michigan. He’s due back in court next month for an extradition hearing.
The girl’s family said they hope he gets locked up for life.
“He’s the scum of the Earth,” her father said. “I hope he gets what he deserves when he stands in front of the judge and that final gavel gets smacked down, and he can live with the rest of his stuff of what he’s got to do in prison because that’s where I hope he stays for the rest of his days.”
Rathbun noted that since it’s early in the investigation, it’s unclear at this time if there are any other alleged victims. Anyone with information is asked to contact Warwick police at (401) 468-4200.