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Va. man charged with texting girl for sex

The owner of an Old Town Alexandria rug shop has been indicted by a federal grand jury for trying to set up a sexual encounter with a 13-year-old girl through a series of text messages.

Joshua B. Nabatkhorian, 52, who lives in the Fairfax area of Fairfax County, is also the owner of J&J Oriental Rug Gallery on King Street. He was arrested by Fairfax police on state charges in November, but federal prosecutors took over the case in June. A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in Alexandria said she did not know why the case moved to the federal level.

Court records show that the girl's mother contacted Fairfax police in November and showed them text messages allegedly sent by Nabatkhorian to her daughter.

Nabatkhorian was a family friend. A police officer took over the conversation on the girl's phone, then switched Nabatkhorian to e-mail, a federal affidavit states.

The officer, posing as the girl, arranged a meeting with Nabatkhorian at a shopping center on Braddock Road, after which Nabatkhorian allegedly suggested taking the girl to a hotel. On Nov. 17, Nabatkhorian arrived for the meeting, and was arrested. Police later searched Nabatkhorian's e-mail, and found a reservation for a room at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Arlington, the federal affidavit states.

As Nabatkhorian's case was headed for a preliminary hearing in Fairfax Juvenile Court in June, Fairfax prosecutors dismissed charges of using a communication device to facilitate a sex act with a minor and attempted indecent liberties with a minor. Those charges carried a minimum five-year prison term if convicted.

In federal court, Nabatkhorian was indicted Thursday for attempting to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity, which carries a mandatory minimum ten-year term, and a maximum of life in prison. Nabatkhorian has remained free on his own recognizance pending trial.

-- Tom Jackman

By Tom Jackman  |  August 20, 2010; 5:45 PM ET
Categories:  Alexandria , Fairfax , From the Courthouse , Sex Crimes , Tom Jackman  
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Federal and state prosecutors seem to be almost fighting over the chance to prosecute this career-enhancing, media-friendly case. And the politicians who voted for a 10-year mandatory minimum are probably enjoying the "tough on crime" soundbite it earned them.

But seriously, a mandatory minimum of 10 years? Actual rapists (not merely texting wannabes) get less time.

Posted by: kcx7 | August 20, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

where is thefairfax area of fairfax county?

Posted by: aka583 | August 20, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Oh lord the Ritz??? I really wish all the police and citizens would read the article "AFTERNOON OF THE SEX CHILDREN." We have failed our children in so many ways. I'm not saying Nabatkhorian is innocent or did OK, but honestly, why is a 13 y/o texting a 50y/o? How does that even friggin happen?! What a mess.

Posted by: FiatBooks | August 21, 2010 7:09 AM | Report abuse

in response to Fiatbooks, I know the family and the incident. THe child did not contact this monster he contacted her again and again and again. He deserves 10 years!

Posted by: fairness4 | August 21, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I'm another one who says it's crazy to give a 13 year old texting capabilities. She's still a child.

You don't hand a child access to the world and just hope it goes well. She shouldn't have had to go through this, regardless of who contacted who. For that matter, how did he even have her private number?

Posted by: messykat | August 21, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Please messykat!! I know the families of this community and every one of their kids have phones and texting capabilities. Whether it's right or wrong, this is the world of today. Does that make it ok for a 51 year old man to work his way in to her world and destroy her innocence? And in response to kcx7, just because some actual rapists get off easy does not make it just. This 13 year-old was lucky that an "actual" rape was prevented when her mother got involved and turned the "texting wannabe's" information over to the authorities. Had she kept quiet, who's to say how many other young girls he might have preyed upon? How do you sleep at night accusing the victim and her family? What if this was your child? And what are you teaching your children about the world we live in, and how to protect themselves against such predators? Just because you like someone in your community who you feel was a good your eyes and see who he really is! People are not always as they present themselves. But you will all have the opportunity to see the truth once the evidence has been presented. Hopefully you can open your eyes and allow reality to sink in.

Posted by: howdoyoulivewithyourselves | August 21, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

What a slug!!! I am so pleased that another pedophile is off the streets. The girl's mom is to be congratulated for being alert and intervening in this matter. It could have ended so differently. He rented a room in anticipation of sex with a child. He should be locked up for a very long time.

Posted by: skinfreak | August 22, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Hey messycat. He got her private number from his daughter who was her best friend. How do you like them apples. I am amazed at the people who vilify the victim. Somehow them look to blame her. How disgusting!

Posted by: fairness4 | August 22, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

By The Way for those of you who doubt...the perpetrator sent this child over 30 text messages in 3 days. Her responses were very polite as she was perplexed about what he wanted. After all he was her best friend's father. She finally showed the text messages to her mother who was horrified and called the police. She questioned the police as to whether she was overreacting. The answer was definitely not!!

Posted by: fairness4 | August 22, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Let me offer my personal thank you *standing ovation* to the police, the child who did the right thing and the parent who acted on it. So many would have simply done nothing. Telling the daughter to delete them or having the number blocked and the police for not just making light of this and taking it seriously.

It takes people with the courage to act.

Note: Its never a child's fault in these situation the girl could have left her phone on the counter in his shop for all we know. No matter the reason it would never be OK for a Adult to not be the responsible party. It is the adults responsibility to set limits and the right kind of relationship with the children around them.

As for crime and punishment. Its not what others will get that sets the standard for what this *person* should receive.

Posted by: Brian429 | August 23, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

"Federal and state prosecutors seem to be almost fighting over the chance to prosecute this career-enhancing, media-friendly case.".
Are you serious? This 52 year old man was attempting to hook up with a 13 year old. You have a problem with law enforcement and sentencing guidelines? Maybe you should have a problem with the 52 year old's criminal behavior!

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | August 23, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Amazing how people blame the victim or want to look at who is fighting with who for jurisdicition. How about this 51 year old man was planning a rape on a 13 year old girl??? Should she or should she not have texting on her phone?? Really is that what this boils down to?? How about he deserves what he gets. I shake my head at you who are blaming a child in this case. This guy was going to prey on a child and someone intervened. Whats wrong with this world is we try to analyze everything other than the facts or really what the problem is. I do not have children but, I am grateful that is one less predator off the streets.

Posted by: owujobi | August 23, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Do any of these postings ever work? I find it hard to believe any functional adult would purchase anything from a website being promoted in this fashion.
If this was a legitimate website it would promoted in a far more professional manner.

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | August 23, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

How on earth do individuals exonerate would-be-if-they-could-be pedophiles? How do they suggest that it is a child's fault that this 50+ year old came onto her? How could they think that simply owning a phone that can text makes a child somehow to blame or in any way responsible for his crime? It is deplorable that some are so stuck in denial that any scapegoat will do. Evil heaps itself on evil and that is no solution.

Posted by: honest2gd | August 23, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

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