Local man sentenced to 4 year federal prison term

A local man who tried to arrange a sexual encounter with a person he believed was a 14-year old prostitute was sentenced Monday to four years in prison.

George Bruso, 45, of Whitehall, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Burlington, Vt., after pleading guilty to a federal charge of travel in interstate commerce for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct.

Bruso was arrested last May after a nearly three-week federal investigation that began in Rutland, Vt., and involved the Department of Homeland Security, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the South Burlington Police Department.

The investigation began after an adult prostitute told authorities Bruso had asked her to find him a child prostitute.

The ATF informed Homeland Security, which opened an investigation into the matter. Caitilyn Moynihan, a special investigator with the department, posed as a 14-year-old named “Debbie” in order to communicate with Brusso.

On May 14 the two exchanged numerous text messages discussing the cost of various sexual acts and set up a meeting to take place in Burlington.

The two continued to exchange text messages for a two-week period and on May 30, Moynihan received a text message from Bruso that read, “I’m in burl I have 500 r u free now.”

The two arranged to meet outside a movie theater on Shelburne Road in South Burlington and after authorities verified his identity, Bruso was arrested. During an interview following his arrest, Bruso said he had believed he was speaking to a minor and that he was asking her for oral sex.

Bruso will not be eligible for release for at least 3-1/2 years. He will then spend five years on parole.

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