Timothy Taffe, of Fort Lauderdale, admitted he aggressively pursued the minor after meeting her at game night at St. Benedict’s Episcopal Church in Plantation in July. Taffe reportedly sent graphic messages and photos of his genitals to the girl, though they were actually received by Plantation police and other agents from the FBI’s child exploitation task force. Taffe admitted to sending the girl lewd emails, including one request to be his “secret friend.” Taffe also invited the girl to meet him in private, offered her alcohol, and took photographs of her at church events.
The girl told Taffe she was 14, rebuffed him and questioned the appropriateness of his comments, she told investigators. The girl’s grandmother reported the email exchanges to Father Alberto Cutie at the church, according to court records.
Taffe arrived to meet the girl in October at the Westfield Broward mall but federal agents arranged the meeting so she did not show up. Taffe was arrested when he arrived at the mall. When investigators searched his Fort Lauderdale home, they found evidence he had prepared for a sexual encounter there with the girl.
Incidents such as this are a reminder that even in locations where children should be safe — such as a church or youth group — there are people who may pose a threat of harm to children. As a result, we must be vigilant in the supervision and protection of our children at all times. This is also an example of a brave child who had the wisdom to know the adult’s actions were inappropriate and had the courage to report this misconduct to family and then law enforcement.