Thursday, September 16, 2021

Washington County man charged with crimes related to bringing minor across state lines to engage in sex acts

 COLUMBUS, Ohio – A Lower Salem, Ohio, man was arrested today on federal charges that he produced child pornography and brought a West Virginian minor to his cabin in Washington County to engage in illicit sex acts.

James A. Sabolick, 56, appeared in federal court in Columbus this afternoon. 

According to court documents, Marietta police officers conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle that Sabolick was driving on July 24, 2021. It is alleged that Sabolick was attempting to conceal a person in his vehicle during that traffic stop when he initially indicated to law enforcement that he was alone. Officers then discovered a minor in the back seat of Sabolick’s vehicle.

An affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint details that Sabolick allegedly drove the minor from West Virginia to a cabin near his residence in Washington County, Ohio, for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct.

Further investigation conducted by the Southeastern Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force at the Washington County Sheriff’s Office alleges Sabolick engaged in various sex acts with the minor.  Those included acts involving abuse such as needle pokes, lighter burns, restraints, strangulation, and urination. Items recovered from Sabolick’s hunting cabin and vehicle included panty hose, lubricant, and a box of t-pins.

It is also alleged that during the course of these sex acts and acts of abuse, the defendant photographed the minor victim. Agents allegedly discovered images of child pornography depicting the minor victim on Sabolick’s cell phone. In addition, numerous images of child exploitation material were also recovered when conducting federal search warrants and forensic analysis on his electronic device.

Sabolick is charged in the federal criminal complaint with traveling interstate to engage in illicit sexual conduct (punishable by up to 30 years in prison), producing child pornography (which carries a sentencing range of 15 to 30 years in prison) and possessing child pornography (a federal crime punishable up to 10 years in prison).

Vipal J. Patel, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Vance Callender, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks and Marietta Police Chief Aaron Nedeff announced the charges. Assistant United States Attorney Emily Czerniejewski is representing the United States in this case.

The case was investigated by both the Southeastern Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force and the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force, which are operated under Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission.

A criminal complaint is merely an allegation, and defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

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