A 23-year-old Southern California man pretended to be a girl on a social media app in order to woo a 15-year-old girl and ultimately have sex with her, L.A. prosecutors alleged this week.

Michael Anthony Byrne of Canyon Country was arrested Monday and remains behind bars downtown in lieu of $175,000 bail, according to the L.A. Sheriff's Department.

The District Attorney's office says he was charged Wednesday with “two counts of oral copulation of a person under 16 and one count each of meeting a minor for lewd purposes, sexual penetration by foreign object and unlawful sexual intercourse.”


Prosecutors said in a statement that Byrne posed as a girl on a social media app in order to introduce a friend—himself—to the 15-year-old victim.

The defendant initially pretended to be a girl who then introduced a “friend” which also was the defendant …

We have learned the app in question is Whisper, which has proclaimed that it's “the first completely anonymous social media network.”

The app says it assigns a “non-unique display name to each user, and multiple users may be assigned the same display name.”

It says that it will cooperate with law enforcement in cases where it has received “a valid subpoena, court order, search warrant, or other valid legal process issued by a United States court or government entity.”

It's not clear if that's what happened here.

The D.A.'s office says Byrne committed his alleged crimes between Aug. 1 and Aug. 16.

The 6-foot, 4-inch, 290-pound suspect was scheduled to face a judge Dec. 5 for a preliminary hearing. 

Sheriff's detectives based in Santa Clarita were still investigating the case, prosecutors said.

With reporting from L.A. Weekly staff writer Gene Maddaus. Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow L.A. Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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