HALL COUNTY, Ga. — "Fortnite" is one of the most popular online games in the world with tens of millions of players across continents.
A Pennsylvania man was recently arrested after having sexual conversations with a metro Atlanta boy through the popular video game, according to the Hall County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies said Gregory Mancini, 29, of Erie, Pennsylvania, traveled over 700 miles to Hall County in the hopes of meeting the 13-year-old. Channel 2 Action News learned Mancini is a former coach at an all-boys prep school.
He's accused of talking with the teen over an Xbox headset.
“Over the course of several weeks, the two began to video chat, and the man turned the conversation to sexual subject matter,” said Derrick Booth, with the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.
The child told his mother the man was driving to Georgia and she called the sheriff's office.
"Our investigators assumed the boy's identity online and continued the conversations," Booth said.
Authorities said Mancini agreed to meet the boy in a retail shopping area in Buford, near Lanier Islands Parkway.
Investigators, in an unmarked car, pulled up to the suspect's car, but he drove off. They contacted him again, posing as the 13-year-old.
"That's when he said, 'I got spooked. I do want to meet you.' That's where our investigators made contact with him," Booth said.
They arrested Mancini, and parents said it's a reminder of the importance of knowing who your kids are playing with online.
"It's very scary, and it's a different world from when I grew up," parent Lisa Davis said.
Mancini, who is charged with criminal attempt to commit child molestation, has been released on bond.
He was fired from his job after school officials learned of his arrest.
Cox Media Group