This Was Such A Shock.............
blueoval at 1SMARTISP.NET
Mon Sep 26 11:39:36 MDT 2005
O-R sports editor nabbed in state child-sex sting
BY KATHIE O. WARCO, Staff writer
kwarco at observer-reporter.com
The state Attorney General's Child Predator Unit arrested the
sports editor of the Observer-Reporter Friday as part of an
ongoing undercover child-sex sting operation.
Thomas J. Rose, 52, of North Franklin Township, was arrested in
North Huntingdon Township, Westmoreland County. He apparently
believed he was going to meet a 12-year-old girl whom he
reportedly met Sept. 9 on a Yahoo chat line.
"Attorney General Tom Corbett has made it a priority of his
administration to catch child predators before they harm our
children," said spokesman Kevin Harley.
The unit, which Corbett originally formed during his first stint
as attorney general, has been expanded since his return to office
in January. Agents in the unit assume the identity of children and
visit various chat rooms where child-sex predators are known to
An undercover agent with the unit was in a Yahoo teen chat room
when allegedly contacted by Rose, whose Internet name is
fantasyxox2. According to the criminal complaint, Rose began
having an online conversation with the agent, whose user name was
The agent told Rose that her name was Jessica and that she was 12
years old and in seventh grade when he suggested meeting her,
according to the criminal complaint. Rose reportedly told her that
he wanted to meet her but said it would be "risky." Rose continued
to talk with the girl about the meeting and asked her to wear a
Rose and the undercover investigator had several online
conversations between Sept. 12 and 15 in which Rose indicated a
desire to meet the girl, Corbett said. Rose also used graphic
sexual language in describing what he wanted to do with the girl,
the affidavit states.
He suggested several times that the two meet, according to the
affidavit. He told her "we have to be careful where we go, though"
and asked her if she would "skip school."
He reportedly contacted her several more times, and they discussed
what they would do when they were together.
During an online conversation, Rose allegedly agreed to meet the
girl Friday at a fast-food restaurant in North Huntingdon. When
Rose arrived for the meeting at McDonald's, he was apprehended by
agents of the unit and North Huntingdon police, Corbett said.
A search warrant for Rose's vehicle was obtained. Agents said they
found directions to the meeting place, a box of condoms, a
personal organizer and a laptop computer.
"I think everyone in the company shares my reaction of shock and
disappointment," said Park Burroughs, editor of the
Observer-Reporter. "I feel sick about it.
"Tom has been an employee here for 29 years and sports editor
since 1981," Burroughs added. "He has been actively involved in
the sports community and in the entire community for many years."
Burroughs learned of Rose's arrest Friday afternoon in a telephone
call from a representative of the attorney general's office.
"He called to inform me that Tom would not be at work tonight,"
Burroughs said. "He allowed me to talk with Tom. He seemed upset
Burroughs would not comment on Rose's status with the company,
citing the confidential relationship between the employee and
employer. Burroughs did say Rose would not be at work in the near
Rose was arraigned before District Judge Douglas Weimer Jr. on
charges of criminal attempt, unlawful contact with a minor and
criminal use of a communication facility. He was placed in
Westmoreland County Prison on $25,000 bond.
Weimer also ordered a mental-health evaluation and placed Rose on
a suicide watch. He also has forbidden Rose to have contact with
children under the age of 18.
A preliminary hearing is set for Friday before Weimer. The case
will be prosecuted by senior Deputy Attorney General Anthony
Forray of the Child Predator Unit.
Rose is the 22nd suspect arrested in an undercover child predator
sting this year.
"Today's arrest is part of an ongoing effort by my office to
capture child predators before they either harm a child for the
first time or harm an innocent child again," Corbett said.
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