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Child Exploitation
04/04/2012

Ohio sex offender indicted for attempted travel to sexually exploit a minor

CLEVELAND – An Ohio man, who is a registered sex offender, was indicted Wednesday by a grand jury after arranging a sexual encounter with an undercover officer posing as the father of an underage girl. The indictment follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Theodore Harmon, 54, of Napoleon, Ohio, was arrested March 14, charged with traveling to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity, after he traveled from his home to Rossford, Ohio, to have sex with an underage female. At the time of his arrest, various sex toys, condoms, bondage ropes and alcohol were discovered in the trunk of his vehicle. He has been in custody since his arrest.

Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio and Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of HSI Michigan and Ohio announced the indictment.

"Through our partnerships with state, local and other federal law enforcement agencies, HSI will continue to vigorously investigate child exploitation cases like this one and ensure that agents and officers remain a barrier between predators and children," said Moskowitz.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the complaint, an undercover investigator patrolling the Internet March 5 found a classified ad placed by Harmon soliciting young girls for sex. The investigator, posing as the father of a 14-year-old daughter, responded to Harmon's ad. Harmon allegedly quickly turned the correspondence sexual and described in graphic detail his plans for the minor.

The two continued to exchange messages until March 11 when they arranged to meet on March 14. When Harmon arrived for the meeting, special agents arrested him.

Attempted sexual exploitation of children is punishable by at least 10 years and up to life in prison.

As part of Operation Predator, HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or its online tip form. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.