Sarasota man guilty of seeking sex from a minor

TAMPA -- A federal jury found Timothy Scott Bidwell, 48, guilty of using the Internet in an attempt to induce and persuade a minor in sex acts, U.S. Attorney Robert E. O’Neill said in a media release.

Bidwell, whose from Sarasota, faces a maximum penalty of life in federal prison after he communicated online with an undercover detective, whom Bidwell believed to be a mother willing to allow him to have sex with her 11- and 14-year-old daughters, the release said.

His sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 6.

Bidwell was arrested on Aug. 24 after he traveled from Sarasota to Clearwater to meet whom he believed to be the mother and daughters, according to the release.

This case was investigated by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the release said and is a part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who prey on children.