School Van Driver Caught in Underage Sex Chat Sting, DA Says
QUEENS — A school bus driver responsible for driving six children to a Manhattan private religious school has been arrested for having sexually explicit conversations with an undercover officer posing as a 14-year-old girl, prosecutors said.
Elliot Provda, 38, who lives on the Lower East Side, sent a series of graphic instant messages and an invitation to meet to a person he believed to be a young girl between Oct. 1 and Dec. 5, according to the Queens District Attorney's Office.
“This case underscores the crucial importance of Internet surveillance initiatives by law enforcement to protect children from sexual predators and should serve as a warning to parents to closely monitor their children’s Internet access and activities," Queens DA Richard Brown said in a statement.
Provda initiated the conversation with the "girl" online, and began bombarding her with instant messages from his AOL account, prosecutors said. In fact, the girl turned out to be an officer from the NYPD's Vice Enforcement Division, prosecutors said.
On Dec. 5, authorities got warrant to search Provda's home and recovered a cell phone with a number he had provided to the undercover detective, according to the Queens DA.
Provda, who worked as an independent deliveryman, had been hired by a group of parents in Manhattan to pick up their children, ranging between 6 and 13 years old, and drop them off at a private religious school. The name of the school was not released.
Provda was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on Thursday on charges of attempted dissemination of indecent material to minors and attempted endangering the welfare of a child. He was ordered held on $15,000 bond and faces up to four years in prison if convicted.