New Details Revealed in Man’s Attempt to Buy Child

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AKRON, Ohio -- A federal affidavit reveals disturbing new insight into the intentions of a Cuyahoga Falls man accused of trying to buy a 10-year-old girl for $400.

Robert W. Thomas Jr. appeared before a federal magistrate in Akron on Wednesday to face new charges.

He was arrested by Alliance police Saturday following a six-day investigation that started with an online ad. Investigators said the ad was placed by Thomas and asked for parents who would arrange a marriage between himself and their daughter.

An undercover detective from Alliance responded to the advertisement, and according to the federal affidavit, was told by Thomas "the younger the better, something in the 5-8 range would be good."

The document reveals that Thomas requested a "ball park figure on costs" and later told detectives "I want a young wife that I can train."

According to the affidavit, undercover officers told Thomas they could provide a "slightly broke in 10-year-old girl."

FBI agents were involved in the investigation soon after it began and were there when Thomas was arrested.

Special Agent Vicki Anderson said the details fit a federal statute under which Thomas is now charged.

"If you are willing to sell a child that you have custody over and then there are certain specifications in that, or, if you are willing to purchase a child and then one of the specifications in that statute indicates that he was willing to purchase this child, what he thought to be a child, and that he was going to use that child for sexual purposes," said Anderson.

The federal affidavit notes that after his arrest Thomas admitted to detectives that he received child pornography over the internet and had saved it to his home computer.

The document also notes that Thomas told investigators that he used his cell phone to send the messages to the undercover officers.

"The fact that there is a forum out there to put such a posting, I mean to put a posting that says you want to purchase a child, is anyone out there willing to sell their child to marry this man? And initially he had indicated that he wanted to purchase ... between a five- and an eight-year-old and he settled for a ten-year-old, that's ... disturbing doesn't even do that justice," said Anderson.

The seven-page federal affidavit concludes with details of what Thomas allegedly told authorities about his intentions involving a young girl.

Investigators said he described how he intended to introduce sexual activity, grooming the child by starting with hugging and kissing on the cheeks and slowly escalating.

The document alleges that Thomas admitted he also planned on taking suggestive photos of the girl.

Thomas remained in federal custody on Wednesday. He was appointed an attorney.

His case is expected to go before a federal grand jury.

Federal Magistrate Kathleen Burke advised him if he is convicted of the existing charge, he faced a minimum sentence of 30 years in prison and a maximum of life behind bars.

For extended coverage on this story, click here.

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