ST. CLOUD -- A Big Lake man is accused of convincing a 13-year-old Stearns County girl to give him oral sex in exchange for an ounce of marijuana and $90.

Twenty-one-year-old Mariano Cocchiarella is also charged with soliciting a minor for sex during an undercover sting by authorities.

Authorities learned of the first crime when a foster parent discovered a conversation between the girl and Cocchiarella on her phone in June. The girl later admitted to meeting Cocchiarella during a forensic interview at the Child Advocacy Center.

The Central Minnesota Human Trafficking Task Force was conducting an undercover operation earlier this month in a chat room known for children being solicited for sex when Cocchiarella allegedly made contact.

Get our free mobile app

The undercover officer was posing as a 15-year-old girl when they say Cocchiarella asked her if she was looking for sex. The undercover officer asked Cocchiarella for his phone number to make sure he wasn't a cop. He said he doesn't give out his phone number and allegedly sent a picture of male genitalia to prove he wasn't.

Court records show a meeting was set up that night but Cocchiarella never showed. He was later arrested in a traffic stop and booked into the Stearns County Jail.

Cocchiarella is charged with the prostitution of a 13-year-old, 3rd-degree criminal sexual conduct with a 13-year-old, soliciting a child to engage in sexual conduct, and using electronics to relate or describe sexual conduct with a child.

10th Annual Butterfly Release Honors Lost Loved Ones in St. Cloud

 

New Minnesota State Fair Foods for 2021

LOOK: The most expensive weather and climate disasters in recent decades

Stacker ranked the most expensive climate disasters by the billions since 1980 by the total cost of all damages, adjusted for inflation, based on 2021 data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The list starts with Hurricane Sally, which caused $7.3 billion in damages in 2020, and ends with a devastating 2005 hurricane that caused $170 billion in damage and killed at least 1,833 people. Keep reading to discover the 50 of the most expensive climate disasters in recent decades in the U.S.