A 37-year-old Ohio man attempted to buy a 10-year-old girl "that I can train" for sex after posting an online ad, federal prosecutors alleged in an indictment and other documents released Thursday.
Robert W. Thomas Jr. of Cuyahoga Falls was arrested Jan. 11 outside a restaurant in Alliance, Ohio, where he had agreed to meet for the exchange, according to the federal court documents.
He’s charged with three counts involing offering to buy a child, enticement, as well as receiving and distributing child porn, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cleveland said.
Prosecutors and the FBI said Thomas posted an online ad on a website in early January seeking a child to be used in pornography. It read in part: “I am a single male in N.E. Ohio. I am looking for parents that would like to arrange a marriage of their daughter.”
But an undercover police officer in Alliance, Ohio, responded and asked how young a girl he was looking for. “Something in the 5-8 range would be good,” he responded, according to an FBI affidavit. “I want a young wife that I can train.”
After they agreed online on a price of $400, police and the FBI identified Thomas through his Internet profile, the affidavit says. Thomas met the undercover agent at a restaurant in Alliance, southeast of Akron, on Jan. 11, then went outside to transfer the “package” to Thomas’ vehicle.
After his arrest, according to the affidavit, Thomas told FBI agents that “I was coming to buy a little girl” to groom her for sexual activity and explicit photos.
Thomas waived his right to a preliminary hearing and is scheduled for arraignment on Feb. 20 in federal court in Akron.
U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Mike Tobin said the use of the Internet in this way is unfortunately not unusual.
“If there’s a way to abuse children, there are people out there who will do it,” he said.
First published February 13 2014, 1:59 PM
Gil Aegerter is an editor-producer who came to NBC News in November 2007. Aegerter is responsible for reporting for NBC Newsâ€™ investigations unit and in that role has written about online election fraud in Florida, encryption software for terrorists, solutions for glitches in the Obamacare website and financial woes of small towns that bought into the Prairie State coal-fired power plant in southern lllinois. Aegerter also serves as a news editor and producer of NBCNews.comâ€™s cover.
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Aegerter joined NBCNews.com from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper, where he was news editor. In that role, Aegerter was responsible for editing, layout design and production of the news sections.
Prior to his work at the Post-Intelligencer, he was news editor at the Wilmington Star-News, a New York Times-owned newspaper in Wilmington, N.C.; was a sports copy and layout editor at the San Diego Union; and was assistant news editor at the Anchorage Times in Alaska. He also was a researcher for NBC Sports for Olympic Games in Atlanta; Sydney, Australia; Salt Lake City; Athens; and Torino, Italy.
Aegerter is a member of the Online News Association and the Society of Professional Journalists.
A graduate of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, Aegerter lives in Brier, Wash. He and his wife, a Zimbabwean native, have two children.