August 7, 2009
Attorney General Corbett announces arrest of Internet predator in Armstrong County; 231st arrest by Child Predator Unit
HARRISBURG - Attorney General Tom Corbett announced that agents from the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit have arrested an Armstrong County man accused of using the Internet to sexually proposition what he believed were 13-year old girls, along with sending nude photos of himself. The "girls" were actually undercover agents from the Child Predator Unit who were using the online profiles of children.
Corbett identified the defendant as Timothy James Colcombe, 22, 613 Highland Ave., Apollo.
Corbett said that Colcombe, a self-employed computer technician, is accused of using Internet chat rooms and Instant message programs to approach and sexually proposition two different undercover agents from the Child Predator Unit. At the time, the agents were using the identities of 13-year old girls from Lancaster and Pittsburgh.
According to the criminal complaint, Colcombe engaged in a series of sexually graphic chats, urging the girls to send him nude photos and expressing his desire to meet them for sex. Colcombe allegedly urged the girls to gain access to a digital camera or webcam, at one point asking, "can u borrow one? I wanna c what u look like naked," and later instructing them to conceal those photos, telling one of the girls, "just delete them after u send one to me."
Corbett stressed that parents and children need to understand that online chats can quickly escalate to include sexual discussions, plans for face-to-face meetings or the transmission of graphic photos and videos.
"Parents should regularly discuss online safety with their children and stress the importance of immediately reporting any situation where strangers make sexual propositions, attempt to arrange meetings or send graphic photos or videos," Corbett said.
Additionally, Corbett stressed that the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit is dedicated to protecting all Pennsylvania families.
"Since it was created in January 2005, the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit has made 231 arrests involving online predators from every corner of Pennsylvania and from as far away as Massachusetts, Florida and Texas," Corbett said. "We work closely with all local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and will go wherever we need to go in order to remove predators from the streets and protect our families and children. Rest assured, we will not allow any Pennsylvania community to become a safe haven for Internet child predators."
Corbett said that Colcombe is accused of encouraging the girls to masturbate during online chats and he repeatedly expressed a desire to meet them for sex. During an online conversation in July, Colcombe asked for the girl's address so that he could use a computer mapping program to locate her.
According to the criminal complaint, Colcombe allegedly stressed the importance of meeting at the girl's home because it would be easier to conceal, commenting, "I'm not going to meet u at the mall? too many people," and later adding, "u r 13 and I'm 22? no one can c us."
Colcombe was arrested at his home on August 6th by agents from the Child Predator Unit, assisted by officers from the Kiskiminetas Township Police Department.
Agents also executed a search warrant at Colcombe's home, seizing multiple laptop computers which will be analyzed by the Attorney General's Computer Forensics Unit as part of an ongoing investigation.
Colcombe is charged with three counts of unlawful contact with a minor (related to statutory sexual assault) and two counts of unlawful contact with a minor (related to sexual abuse of children/child pornography), all second-degree felonies which are each punishable by up to ten years in prison and $25,000 fines.
Additionally, Colcombe is charged with three counts of unlawful contact with a minor (related to sexually explicit materials) and four counts of criminal use of a computer, all third-degree felonies which are each punishable by up to seven years in prison and $15,000 fines.
Colcombe was preliminarily arraigned on August 6th before Leechburg Magisterial District Judge Michael L. Gerheim and lodged in the Armstrong County Jail in lieu of $100,000 cash bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for August 12th at 1:00 p.m.
The case will be prosecuted in Armstrong County by Deputy Attorney General William F. Caye II of the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit.
Corbett thanked the Kiskiminetas Township Police Department for their cooperation and assistance in this investigation.
Corbett said that since the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit was created in January 2005, agents have arrested a total of 231 Internet predators. To date, the unit has a 100% conviction rate.
"It is essential for parents to understand that online predators are a serious threat in every Pennsylvania community," Corbett said. "Since the start of this summer our agents have made 18 arrests, more than double the number of arrests that were made during the same period last summer, and so far during 2009 we have arrested 54 predators from all across the state and as far away as Texas and Florida."
Corbett said the best defense against Internet predators is for parents to regularly discuss online safety with their children, to actively monitor their online activity and to encourage kids to immediately report any situation where strangers make sexual propositions.
Corbett noted that predators will communicate with children in many different ways, using public or private online chat rooms, instant message programs, text messages, email, cell phones and webcams. He encouraged parents to regularly discuss online safety with their children and monitor how their children use the Internet, including:
" What websites they use.
" What social networking sites they may frequent (MySpace, Facebook, etc).
" The importance of not sharing personal information with strangers (names, ages, addresses, schools or other identifying information).
" Avoiding strangers who approach them online.
" Reporting any contact with individuals who engage in sexual discussions or attempt to send graphic photos or videos.
Corbett said that suspected Internet predators can be reported to the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit by using the "Report a Predator" link, located on the front page of the Attorney General's website, at www.attorneygeneral.gov, or by calling the Attorney General's Child Predator Hotline, at 1-800-385-1044.
Additionally, Corbett said that safety tips and other information are available in the "Operation Safe Surf" and "Just for Kids" sections of the Attorney General's website. Also, organizations interested in materials, speakers or presentations, may contact the Attorney General's Education and Outreach Office at 1-800-525-7642 or via email at email@example.com.
(A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.)
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