BCSO: Sex assault suspect lied about age to underage victims

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Michael Bell

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — A 20-year-old Panama City man lied about his age on Snapchat and then sexually assaulted two underage victims, according to the Bay County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies said Michael Lee Bell, Jr. communicated with the 13-year-old victim using Snapchat, an app that allows participants to send messages that self-destruct. Bell led the victim to believe that he was also a teenager and much younger than his actual age of 20, deputies wrote. Their messaging ultimately led to a face-to-face meeting inside the victim’s home and sexual activity with the victim, deputies added.

READ MORE: Sex predator on probation accused of molesting another victim

During the course of the investigation, deputies identified a second victim, a 15-year-old. The second victim reported meeting with Bell after communicating with him on Snapchat. They met in both her home as well as his, where the sexual acts occurred, deputies wrote.  Throughout their communication, Bell again lied about his age, they added.

During an interview Bell admitted to the allegations and to lying about his age to both victims, deputies wrote.

Michael Lee Bell, Jr., of East 26th Street. was charged with four counts of lewd or lascivious battery and booked into the Bay County Jail.

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