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Police: Man poses as 18-year-old, rapes Cape Coral teen in van

The victim said the van had no seats, a mattress, and curtains covering the windows.
Christian Edward Hartman.jpeg
Posted at 12:52 PM, May 24, 2024

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — A local father tells the Cape Coral Police Department that a 28-year-old man, posing as 18, allegedly sexually battered his 15-year-old daughter.

Police say Christian Edward Hartman, 28, met the teenager at a car meet up a few days prior to May 23, 2024.

The two exchanged phone numbers and Hartman allegedly told the victim he was 18.

Plans were then made to meet at a Cape Coral park, police say.

"She thought that they were just going to hang out, talk, listen to music," said Cape Coral Officer Mercedes Simonds.

While at the park, police say Hartman invited the girl into his maroon van to listen to music.

"She said that there were no seats — it was a just a mattress," Simonds said. "There was curtains on the windows."

According to a police report obtained by Fox 4, Hartman drove them to Home Depot on Skyline Boulevard and Veterans Parkway.

"He parked between two U-Haul trucks, blocking [victim's] ability to open the van doors," the report said.

That's when police say he raped the girl.

The report says Hartman later texted the girl and said if she told anyone, he could come back.

Police say on May 23, the next day, the girl and her father went to the police station and reported the crime.

"Unfortunately she fell victim to whatever game he was playing," Simonds said. "Obviously he was probably just playing on the emotions of the 15-year-old girl."

Detectives tracked Hartman down that same day and questioned him, where police say he confessed to the crime.

He was arrested for sexually battering the 15-year-old.

Though Simonds says this is not common, they are still going to continue extra patrols in the parks, especially at nighttime in different potential crime areas.

As of Friday afternoon, Hartman is still in the Lee County Jail.