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Man Tried to Buy 10-Year-Old Girl for Sex: Prosecutors

<p>A 37-year-old Ohio man posted an online ad seeking a child "that I can train" for sex, federal prosecutors allege.</p>

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.