Former House page supervisor convicted on attempted sex charge

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A man who formerly supervised teens in the Florida House of Representatives’ page and messenger program was convicted Friday on an attempted underage-sex charge.

Michael A. Chmielewski, 38, was found guilty on one count of “attempted enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity” by a federal jury in Tallahassee, court records show. He could face up to life imprisonment at a Jan. 5 sentencing.

Chmielewski was the House’s civics program coordinator in its Page & Messenger Program from 2012 until his arrest this February. There were no reports of inappropriate behavior with any of the teens he interacted with in the Capitol.

Earlier this year, investigators conducted an undercover sting on people trying to engage in sexual activity with minors, the Tallahassee Democrat has reported.

“Chmielewski responded to a Craigslist ad from an investigator posing as a 14-year-old girl named ‘Sara,’ ” the paper reported. “They talked for two days on a messaging app. Chmielewski discussed sexual activity with ‘Sara’ and traveled to meet her in person.”

This was “late in the evening after he put his 10-year-old son to bed and left him home alone,” according to a trial brief by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Thielemann.

Chmielewski later claimed entrapment, but the prosecutor said Chmielewski “pursued the idea of having sex with ‘Sara’ over a period of two days” and “described in explicit, sexual detail what he wanted to do without any detailed discussion reciprocated by ‘Sara.’ “

He “arrived with a condom, which he had told ‘Sara’ (was) so she wouldn’t have ‘babies,’ ” according to the brief.

Despite Chmielewski “repeatedly asking whether ‘Sara’ was a cop, that this seemed ‘sketchy’ (and) could be a ‘set up,’ he still pursued meeting ‘Sara,’ ” Thielemann wrote.

His “spontaneous statement upon arrest (was), ‘I know I’m in trouble. What can I do to help myself,’ or words to that effect.”

Chmielewski was defended by Tallahassee attorneys Tim Jansen and Ryan Davis, records show.

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Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.