A Catawissa man who posed as a woman to meet children online was indicted last week by a federal grand jury.

Daniel T. Avetta, 28, was arrested Friday on a federal indictment for four counts of production of child pornography, six counts of receipt of child pornography and two counts of online enticement of a minor.

According to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, Avetta was posing online through social media sites by the name of Jessica Gables to entice children under the age of 17 to meet.

Avetta would engage in conversation with the victims and solicit them for nude photographs, authorities allege.

Investigators discovered several victims in Franklin, Gasconade, Maries, Jefferson, St. François, Iron and Washington counties who had contact with the suspect through this fake profile.

He was arrested Friday in the Cuba area, according to the sheriff’s department.

Franklin County Sheriff Steve Pelton asked that parents check their child’s social media account to see if there has been any interaction with anyone operating an account under the name of Jessica Gables. Anyone with more information is urged to contact Detective James Briggs at 636-583-2560.

This indictment stems from an extensive investigation conducted by the sheriff’s office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation from March to November 2017.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Colleen Lang is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Avetta appeared in the U.S. Eastern Missouri District Court, St. Louis, Friday.

If convicted, a production charge carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000; a receipt charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years; and online enticement of a minor charge is not less than 10 years to life. In determining the actual sentences, a judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Department was assisted by the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office, the Cuba Police Department and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.