ST. LOUIS – A federal judge sentenced a St. Louis man Tuesday for sex crimes involving a teenager he met online.

Michael S. Bakale, 39, was sentenced to seven years in prison. Bakale plead guilty in May 2022 to the charge of coercion of a minor into an illegal sex act with no statute of limitations for the crime.

Investigators say, for nearly six weeks, Bakale would have several conversations with the then 15-year-old via an app after meeting her in 2016. The two engaged in oral sex after Bakale picked her up from a local mall and took her to a hotel on October 2, 2016.

Both the St. Louis County Police Department as well as the FBI investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Dianna Collins prosecuted the case as well.

Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse was launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice and was a part of the case. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, click here.