HUNTINGDON COUNTY, Pa (WTAJ) — The Huntingdon Borough Police Department announced Wednesday they have filed grooming and sexual abuse of a minor charges against Christopher Lee Traxler, 38.
Traxler has been charged for allegedly grooming a 17-year-old as he “catfished” as a 19-year-old woman online. Traxler received explicit photos and videos, as well as personal information about the victim, according to police.
The victim’s stepmother had learned the teen was having an inappropriate relationship with someone online through WhatsApp. The victim believed he was talking to “Erika Lowery”, his online girlfriend, but his stepmother found out the number belonged to Traxler, according to Charles Streightiff, Huntingdon Borough Police Department Chief
The victim’s sister messaged Traxler confronting him about pretending to be a 19-year-old and told him she was going to contact police, according to Steightiff.
The teen’s stepmother ended up finding Traxler through Facebook after he posted saying his cellphone number had been “spoofed.”
Streightiff said it was a lengthy eight-month-long investigation that involved multiple agencies from both Pennsylvania and Michigan.
Detective Brent Kargrise lead the investigation and is concerned there could be additional victims, according to Streightiff. It is also believed that Traxler had connections to youth in the Huntingdon area, as well as his past job at Juniata College.
Kargrise interviewed Traxler on Dec. 22, 2021, in which Traxler admitted to using the “Erika Lowery” profile to communicate to the Michigan teen and did receive inappropriate images from him. He also told Kargrise, according to Streightiff, he’d use TikTok’s live stream feature to see the teen, but not be seen by him.
Streightiff said Kagarise reported that Pennsylvania State Police Crime Lab searched Traxler’s phone and found 4,760 pornographic images and the possible images used in creating the “Erika Lowery” profile.
Traxler turned himself in, according to police, and had his preliminary arraignment Wednesday. He is currently in Huntingdon County Prison after failing to post $50,000 bail. Additionally, Kargrise urged anyone who might be a victim to call the department at 814-643-3960.
This is a developing story, please check back for updates and download the WTAJ app to receive breaking news notifications.