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Press Release

Cuyahoga Falls Man Indicted For Trying To Buy A Child

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Ohio

Robert W. Thomas, 37, of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, was charged with offering to buy a child, enticement, and receiving and distributing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cleveland Office.

“The conduct laid out in the indictment should sound an alarm for all parents,” Dettelbach said. “We will remain vigilant in protecting our children from predators.”

“Mr. Thomas’ behavior and his stated desires for wanting to buy a child are frightening,” Anthony said. “Law enforcement will continue to proactively and aggressively pursue predators that intend to harm our children and this is yet another reminder for parents to be aware of their child's Internet activities.”

From on or about January 6, 2014, through on or about January 11, 2014, Thomas offered to purchase or otherwise obtain custody or control of a minor, that is, a 10-year-old girl, with the intent to promote the engaging in of sexually explicit conduct by such minor for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct; and such offer was communicated and transported using any means and facility of interstate and foreign commerce, and in and affecting interstate and foreign commerce by any means including by computer, according to the indictment.

The indictment also charges that from on or about January 6, 2014, through on or about January 11, 2014, Thomas knowingly used a computer connected to the Internet and a cellular phone, to attempt to induce a 10-year-old girl to engage in illegal sexual activity with him. 

The indictment also charges that from on or about January 1, 2012, through on or about January 11, 2014, Thomas knowingly received and distributed in interstate and foreign commerce, by computer, numerous computer files, which files contained visual depictions of real minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. 

If convicted, the sentence in this case will be determined by the court after consideration of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines which depend upon a number of factors unique to each case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the unique characteristics of the violation.  In all cases the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael A. Sullivan.  The case was investigated by the Canton Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Alliance Police Department.

An indictment 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.

Updated March 12, 2015