PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The man accused of luring a Michigan teen away from her home and bringing her back to Rhode Island was ordered held without bail during is arraignment in U.S. District Court Thursday afternoon.
Charles Morancey, 43, of Warwick, has been detained since his arraignment at Kent County District Court on Aug. 7 on four counts of third-degree sexual assault, charged by Warwick police. Third-degree sexual assault is defined as having sexual relations with someone over the age of 14, but under 16, which is the age of consent. It’s also referred to as “statutory rape.”
In federal court Thursday, Morancey faced charges of interstate travel to engage in sexual activity with a minor and receipt of child pornography.
Federal prosecutors requested Morancey be held without bail, saying he’s a flight risk and, based on evidence from his conversations with the alleged 15-year-old victim, poses an extreme danger to teenagers everywhere.
The judge obliged and set a preliminary hearing for Sept. 11 at 11 a.m.
Morancey is accused of having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl from Hopkins, Michigan, which is in Allegan County. According to court documents, the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department had been searching for the girl for four days until they got a tip that she might have met a man on Instagram.
When they searched her account, they determined the girl had most recently logged onto her account from an IP address in Rhode Island.
According to court documents, that address led Allegan County Sheriffs to Morancey’s home on Main Avenue in Warwick. That’s when the sheriff’s department contacted Warwick Police for further investigation.
Eyewitness News spoke to Warwick Police Chief Rick Rathbun who explained how they were able to arrest Morancey.
He said immediately after receiving the tip from Michigan, officers conducted surveillance in the area of Main Avenue on Aug. 6.
Then, they knocked on Morancey’s door.
At that time, the 15-year-old girl, who had been reported missing, allegedly answered the door willingly and identified herself as such. She was brought to Warwick Police headquarters.
Morancey was not home at the time, but Rathbun said police were able to track down his license plate and arrest him during a traffic stop as he was headed back into Warwick.
According to U.S. District Court of Rhode Island, Morancey helped the girl devise and execute a plan to run away from home without being caught or tracked down by her parents. Federal prosecutors allege Morancey befriended the teenager on social media in mid-July and that they exchanged sexually explicit comments.
Prosecutors also allege the teen sent Morancey sexually explicit pictures as well.
Morancey is accused of physically driving to Michigan to pick up the girl and driving her back to Rhode Island.
According to Rathbun, the girl was interviewed by police and described her time with Morancey. That’s when police were able to make the determination to charge Morancey with four counts of third-degree sexual assault.
Morancey’s public defender waived the reading of the facts at his arraignment, but the judge 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 while those charges are serious, they’re not capital offenses, meaning he couldn’t hold Morancey without bail. However, he did set bail at $50,000 double surety on those out-of-state charges. That means $100,000 surety bail had to be posted.
On the Warwick charges, he was held on $25,000 surety bail. On conditions of bail, he was also ordered to have no internet access for personal use and no contact with anyone under the age of 18.
As of the morning of Aug. 29, Morancey was still listed as an inmate at the ACI Intake Service Center. He is fighting extradition to Michigan. He’s due back in court in September for an extradition hearing.
Shortly after the 15-year-old girl was found safe, the girl’s family spoke to media in Michigan, saying they hope he’s 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 said it’s still uncertain if Morancey has other alleged victims.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Warwick police at (401) 468-4200.