News and Press Releases

Cuyahoga Falls man charged For trying to purchase 10-Year-Old Girl

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 15, 2014

Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Cleveland Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, announce the federal arrest of Robert W. Thomas, age 36 of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.

On January 11, 2014, detectives from the Alliance Police Department arrested a man who was attempting to purchase a 10-year-old female child to keep and use for sexual purposes. The man had posted on an online site asking for anyone willing to arrange a “marriage” of their daughter to him. An Alliance Police Department officer, also assigned to the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, responded to the man’s posting and began a conversation.

Robert W. Thomas agreed to a meeting with the online undercover officer to purchase for $400 what he believed to be a 10-year-old child. Thomas and the officer, acting in an undercover capacity, met in a business establishment in Alliance and then went outside to complete the “transaction.” As the two approached the undercover officer’s vehicle, Thomas was arrested. At the time of arrest, Thomas had $400 cash in his hand. Thomas was taken into custody and was held in the Stark County Jail on a $2 million bond.

The FBI and the Cuyahoga Falls Police Department provided assistance to the Alliance Police Department during the arrest and the subsequent search warrant conducted at Thomas’ residence.

After intensive review with consideration given to the nature and the seriousness of the offense, the investigative team and prosecutors deemed it appropriate to file federal charges.

On January 14, 2014, a federal arrest warrant was authorized charging Robert W. Thomas with one count of Title 18 U.S.C. 2251 A(b)(2)(A), which is the selling or buying of children.

“This case is the result of outstanding investigative work completed by the Alliance Police Department and its partners,” Anthony said. “Mr. Thomas should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and these federal charges will ensure justice is served. Law enforcement will continue to proactively and aggressively pursue predators that intend to harm our children.”

Dettelbach said: “The conduct laid out in these charges is disturbing. Our office remains committed to working with the FBI and all our law enforcement partners to defend our children and fight human trafficking.”

Jennifer L. Arnold, law director for the city of Alliance, said: “The Alliance Law Director’s office would like to commend all the agencies involved in this arrest. While the investigation moved quickly with the Alliance Police, the FBI, the Cuyahoga Falls Police Department, and Judge Lisa Coates of the Stow Municipal Court assisted to ensure that this matter was done with professionalism. This matter received the highest priority treatment by all agencies as warranted by a case of this nature.”

“This was a tremendously successful investigation and operation performed under the supervision of Lieutenant John Jenkins, Detective Bureau Commander,” said Chief Scott C. Griffith, Alliance Police Department. “Also playing integral roles were Detective Matt Shatzer and Officer Hope Rummell, who were assisted by Detective Mike E. Jones, Detective Robert Rajcan, and Officer Don Bartolet. We also appreciate all the assistance given our investigators by the FBI.”

A complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal records, the defendant’s role in the offenses, and the characteristics of the violations. In all cases, the sentences will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases they will be less than the maximum.

Any questions regarding this news release can be directed to Special Agent Vicki D. Anderson at the Cleveland Office of the FBI, (216) 522-1400 or vicki.anderson@ic.fbi.gov.

 

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