December 22, 2014

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Man accused of trying to buy 10-year-old girl faces federal charges

 

 Robert Thomas

Robert Thomas

CLEVELAND — A man arrested on state charges of trying to pay $400 for a 10-year-old girl to keep at home for sex now faces a federal prosecution, the FBI and a U.S. attorney said Wednesday.

One count of child-buying was filed against Robert W. Thomas, 36, of Cuyahoga Falls, according to Stephen Anthony, head of the FBI in northern Ohio, and U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach.

The federal prosecution puts additional resources on the case. Thomas was ordered held without bond pending an appearance before a federal magistrate in Akron, and state charges were dismissed in Alliance Municipal Court.

No attorney for Thomas was listed in federal court records.

Thomas was arrested Saturday night after allegedly asking someone online to arrange a marriage between him and the person’s daughter.

An undercover officer said Thomas told him he wanted to keep the girl at home for sex.

Dettelbach said moving the case to federal court reflected a priority of his office. “The conduct laid out in these charges is disturbing,” he said in a statement.

“Our office remains committed to working with the FBI and all our law enforcement partners to defend our children and fight human trafficking.”

Dettelbach, whose office prosecutes federal crimes in 40 counties in northern Ohio, has won convictions against 32 people for human trafficking and related crimes since 2010.

Thomas had been charged in state court with human trafficking, attempting to commit kidnapping and to commit rape and possession of criminal tools. His bond was $2 million on the state charges.

A police search of Thomas’ home near Akron turned up sexual paraphernalia, videos, several handguns and rifles and a rifle with a mounted grenade launcher, according to The (Canton) Repository. A computer and electronic storage devices also were seized.