Edward L. Esposito

Edward L. Esposito

Edward "Ed" Esposito is vice-president, information media for the Rubber City Radio Group. He oversees news and public affairs programs for www.AkronNewsNow.com, 1590 WAKR, 97.5 WONE and 94.9 WQMX. He is Secretary-Treasurer of the Radio Television Digital News Foundation; a former chair of the Radio Television Digital News Association and Foundation and a former president of the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters Association. He's also served as a member of the Akron Press Club , Kent State University Student Media Advisory Board, Ohio Open Government Coalition, Northeast Ohio AMBER Task Force. He's lectured on broadcasting and journalism for the University of Missouri in China, as well as across the country for RTDNA and RTDNF. You can reach Ed through the newsroom at 330-864-6397 or by email eesposito@rcrg.net

Tuesday, 19 May 2015 11:48

Akron Cops ID Thirsty Thief

Akron police say surveillance video did the trick coughing up the ID of an Akron man now wanted for a pair of robberies, both involving convenience stores.

Police identified the suspect at Steven Watson, 33, of North Seiberling Street. In both robberies beverages were involved; the first, at the Circle K store on Triplett Blvd., had Watson demanding money from the clerk while holding a Polar Pop in his hand. In the second heist, at the Bell Store on East Market Street, Watson reportedly snatched cash from the register drawer after first presenting a bottle of soda pop for payment.

Police say they received several tips and there's now a warrant out for the thirsty thief.

- - -

(Akron Police Department) After releasing a video surveillance photo of a male suspect involved in two recent robberies, the suspect has been identified and charges have been  signed.  Steven Watson, 33, of North Seiberling Street in Akron is wanted for two counts of robbery.

The robberies occurred on May 17, 2015.

The first robbery occurred around 4:00pm at the Circle K, located at 1877 Triplett Boulevard.  The suspect entered the store, got a polar pop, and approached the register.  The suspect then handed the clerk a note and demanded money.  The clerk handed the suspect money and the suspect fled.

The second robbery occurred around 8:30pm at the Bell Store, located at 1805 East Market Street.  The suspect attempted to pay for a bottle of pop.  As the clerk rang up the pop, the suspect reached over the counter and grabbed money from the register.  At one point he shoved the clerk away from the cash register.  The suspect fled.

Through the release of video surveillance photos, the police department received several tips.  Officers followed up on the tips and Steven Watson was identified as the robber.  

Officers need the public’s help in locating Steven Watson.  Watson is a white male, 5’8”, 170 lbs., black hair and green eyes.  
Wednesday, 13 May 2015 08:54

Canton Cops Bust Smack House

Canton police say they took nearly $40,000 worth of heroin off the streets with a drug bust Tuesday. 23-year old Alisha Charles was arrested after a search of a home on Highland Road NE. Police say they also recovered 265 grams of heroin, crack cocaine, a heroin press, marijuana, prescription drugs and guns. Others arrests are expected.
- - - 
(Canton PD) On today’s date at approximately 09:30A.M., The Canton Police Department’s Special Investigations Unit executed a search warrant at 921 Highland Rd N.E. The warrant was served as part of an investigation into drug activity and was based on SIU-generated intelligence. The search warrant was signed by the Honorable Judge Chryssa Hartnett. 
Items recovered during the search include: 
- Approximately 265 Grams of heroin (Street value $39,750.00)
- Approximately 3.5 Grams of crack
- Electronic scales
- Heroin press
- $2,450.00 US Currency
- Four firearms ready at hand
- Marijuana
- Packaging materials
- Digital Scale
- Prescription Drugs
Arrested at the time of the search was 23 year old, Alisha Charles. She was charged with:
Trafficking in Drugs – Heroin (F1), Possession of Drugs – Heroin (F1), Trafficking in Drugs – Cocaine (F5), Possession of Drugs – Cocaine (F5), Aggravated Possession of Drugs (F3), Tampering with Drugs (F3), Possession of Criminal Tools (F5), Trafficking Controlled Substance (F5), Possession controlled Substance – Marijuana (MM), Presence in a place where drugs are used or sold (M4) and Five counts of Endangering Children (M-1) 
The investigation continues at this time and additional charges will be filed on a male that fled from the scene prior to the execution of the search warrant.
Saturday, 09 May 2015 08:51

What They're Saying: The Editorials

Reaction swift to the resignation of Akron's longest-serving Mayor, and it may not be the legacy intended. Along with compliments for the positives during Don Plusquellic's years in office, his decision to quit and retire ahead of this year's municipal elections was tempered with some noting it was time for him to go.

The Akron Beacon Journal -- which took the rare step of directly and quickly responding to criticisms raised by Plusquellic in his resignation letter -- called the way the Mayor decided to leave city hall "sad" and said Plusquellic's own behavior was to blame for the "festering" issue following his decision to ban Councilman Bob Hoch from his State of the City address, reports he felt theatened by Hoch and feared he would be shot and then his refusal to apologize to Hoch.

READ the Beacon Journal editorial "Mayor Plusquellic just up and quits"

The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mark Naymik called it "long overdue" and reminded readers of the incident where Plusquellic had an argument with a parking lot attendant which led to the worker's firing. It was part, Naymik wrote, of a history of picking fights with other politicians, the press, businessmen and "regular Joes" during his tenure and clouded the positive achievements over his terms in office.

READ Naymik's column from Northeast Ohio Media Group

For the most part, other media played the story as top political news but the Cleveland television stations quickly switched to other top stories, including the loss by the Cavaliers to the Bulls in Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference semi-finals.

WATCH WKYC Channel 3 story

WATCH WEWS NewsChannel 5 story

WATCH WJW Fox 8 story

WATCH WOIO 19ActionNews story

Most other news organizations around the country noted the resignation and retirement with wire stories; the New York Times example was typical of most of the national newspapers. The Columbus Dispatch reprinted the story by the Akron Beacon Journal. Ohio's largest newspapers have a content-sharing agreement and it is not unusual to see other city newspaper stories and bylines in newspapers around Ohio. 




The reaction was largely one of surprise, even though some pointed out they could feel Mayor Plusquellic meant it this time when he hinted privately he would not run for another term. Summit County Executive Russ Pry, Council President and likely Interim Mayor Garry Moneypenny, Councilman and potential Mayoral candidate Mike Williams and fellow Council member Bob Hoch all weighed in on hearing the news Friday that Plusquellic would resign the end of the month and take retirement.

The door is now wide open for candidates seeking Akron's highest elected office with a filing deadling in June and City elections in the fall. 






UPDATED to include statement from the Akron Beacon Journal

There's more to the eye on Mayor Plusquellic's decision to blame the Beacon Journal, in part, for his resignation. The story goes a bit deeper.

We decided this week to pursue an interview with Bob Hoch and Mike Williams to provide context and reaction to the visit from the Administration representatives who came to our station last week, but decided not to provide a solitary platform for what the Mayor's representatives wanted to say. Chris Keppler even set up an appointment for Bob Hoch to come in for a similar interview and Mr. Hoch agreed on next week.
I should point out that during the Cabinet members meeting with us last week, the Mayor was personally on the phone at least once with Stephanie Post York, his media representative, to get an update. She has been a strong advocate for the Mayor and pushed for us to air the interview in it's entirety, or in portions on the Ray Horner or Jasen Sokol programs. I felt it was important as a matter of balance and fairness to offer the same platform to Mr. Hoch, Mike Williams and others given the nature of the character questions raised. 
This week we decided to present the program with the balance of Administration and Hoch as part of our 30 minute public affairs program Spectrum. Each would have 15 minutes. Some of this may be even more timely but again, our desire is to be fair to both sides and not just a platform for one or the other. That decision came from upper-level discussions within our radio station and mirrored discussions in our newsroom on our editorial process.
I posted to WAKR's Facebook the following today and will add it to our coverage on WAKR.net. Normally, these politico-v-media things rarely see the timelines or rundown we live with when dealing with politicians. They are a fact of life in political coverage, and it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the adversarial relationship in which both sides operate. 
In this case, I think we owe it to our listeners and readers to do so. 
The rest of the story: a week ago today, some of the members of the Mayor's cabinet appeared at the station for a non-broadcast interview. This was the same group pitched to the Beacon Journal. WAKR's Chris Keppler agreed to talk with them and the meeting was recorded. We made an editorial decision to not air the discussion until we had time to provide a similar platform to Councilman Hoch and others, and to review and provide a balanced presentation. 
At the time we did not commit to an air date, but this week we decided to tentatively set May 17th (a week from this Sunday) to air in a 30-minute program on Spectrum, our weekly public affairs offering, depending on the news value of the discussions. 
It's important to note in context to Mayor Plusquellic's comments regarding the Beacon Journal and worth noting the Beacon Journal's own editorial process may have also gone beyond a simple recitation of the character observations from the Administration targeting Councilman Bob Hoch.
ADDED 5:58 p.m.
The Akron Beacon Journal also addressed the Mayor's charges in a statement:
'The Beacon Journal’s publisher and the editor dispute statements made by the mayor in his resignation letter on Friday.
The newspaper has endeavored to report on community issues in a way that empowers people in the community to make informed decisions. Sometimes the newspaperpoints out flaws, other times it points out strengths in our community, they said.
 “It is disturbing to me that the mayor would leave office this way,” Beacon Journal Publisher Mark Cohen said. “This newspaper has a history of reporting honestly and fairly. To accuse us of somehow causing his resignation is just not rational.”
“What the mayor is blaming on the Beacon Journal began as a dispute between the mayor and a member of his council,” Beacon Journal Editor Bruce Winges said. “The Beacon Journal is involved because of its obligation to report to the people of Akron what is going on with their government.”
The incident began when Plusquellic uninvited Councilman Bob Hoch to the State of the City speech. York subsequently said in an email to an Ellet resident that Plusquellic uninvited Hoch because he “didn’t want to get shot in front of his 88-year-old mother.”
The editorial page of the paper has been a strong supporter of Plusquellic. Cohen and Winges both pointed out that the newspaper has endorsed Plusquellic
repeatedly while he has been mayor.
Following the incident with the councilman, a Beacon Journal editorial called on the mayor to apologize and put the incident behind the city. “The Beacon Journal never accused Stephanie York of lying,” Winges said. 
The mayor’s statement released Friday accuses the Beacon Journal of refusing to listen to seven cabinet members and Council President Garry Moneypenny. The offer was made after the Beacon Journal had published what editors and reporters believed was a complete story that included the city’s side of events, Winges said.
The situation developed later as members of the council and residents of Akron sought more information. Some council members called for an investigation.
Subsequent efforts by the Beacon Journal to seek Plusquellic’s side of the story were met with silence from the mayor and short statements from his spokeswoman. The mayor has been out of town on multiple occasions since the State of the City speech in March."
Friday, 08 May 2015 10:01

Akron Zoo Notes Passing Of Nani

A death in the family -- even with an alternate standing in the wings. The Akron Zoo announcing the death of Nani, a giant Pacific octopus, olf old age and declining health. Nani had been in Akron since July of 2013, age unknown but these animals live on average for three years. A naming contest was held on Nani's entrance and more than 1,400 suggestions were fielded; she picked her own name from a trio of pumpkins bearing the finalists.

- - -

AkronZoo NewOctopus050815(Akron Zoo) The Akron Zoo is saddened to announce the passing of its giant Pacific octopus, Nani.

After a significant decline in health, due to old age, zoo staff made the difficult decision to euthanize Nani on Monday, May 4, 2015. The zoo has acquired a new giant Pacific octopus that is now on exhibit.

Nani had been at the Akron Zoo almost two years, arriving in July of 2013. When she arrived her age was unknown, but giant Pacific octopus on average live three years.

"The Akron Zoo community is certainly saddened by the loss of Nani. She was a terrific ambassador for her species," commented Doug Piekarz, president and CEO. Nani was a favorite among zoo visitors. When she arrived at the zoo a naming contest was held on October 14, 2013, that yielded 1,400 submissions. The final three choices were written on pumpkins and the octopus touched Nani first and picked her own name.

The new octopus (seen at left) is currently on exhibit at the zoo's Journey to the Reef exhibit. Giant Pacific octopus can be found in the northern Pacific Ocean from southern California, north along the coast of North America's Pacific northwest and south to Japan. They live in rocky areas, caves and kelp forests, from the shores to depths of more than 500 feet. They eat fish, shrimp, crabs, scallops, clams and other shellfishes. They are considered mollusks and are related to clams, squid and snails.

Friday, 08 May 2015 08:08

VIDEO Cavs Apologize For Video

Apparently "All In" has limits when it comes to humor. The Cavaliers issuing an apology for an in-house video shown during Wednesday's playoff game with the Bulls that critics say glorifies domestic violence, while others debating the video on social media say it's much ado about nothing.

In a statement sent to the media, the team says the video was not intended to be offensive but "it was a mistake to include content that made light of domestic violence."

From the Cavaliers:

"During a timeout at last night's Cavaliers vs. Bulls playoff game at The Q in Cleveland, we ran a 1-minute in-arena video that was intended to be a humorous spoof on a popular commercial centered on a song and dance from the classic movie 'Dirty Dancing.' While the video was not intended to be offensive, it was a mistake to include content that made light of domestic violence.

Domestic violence is a very serious matter and has no place in a parody video that plays in an entertainment venue. We sincerely apologize to those who have been affected by domestic violence for the obvious negative feelings caused by being exposed to this insensitive video. The Cavaliers organization has a strong and lengthy track record of supporting domestic violence-related causes and efforts. We will continue to proudly work with our regional partners at the Domestic Violence & Child Advocacy Center in support of their numerous programs to end domestic violence in our country once and for all." 

The video in question shows a couple in a "Dirty Dancing" setting; when the woman tries to jump into the arms of the man, he sees she's wearing a Chicago Bulls t-shirt. He's clearly a Cavs fan and passes her along to crash on the floor. Both are later shown supporting the Cavaliers.

While some are describing the ad as a "Dirty Dancing" ripoff, the spot itself is actually a parody of an on-going commercial for United Healthcare that features a couple who crash together into a table trying to replicate the Dirty Dancing scene.

Judge for yourself.




Tuesday, 05 May 2015 21:41

Voters Love Libraries

What's not to love about a place that can transport you to anywhere on earth, anytime in history or the future, or even in and out of dimensions never before explored?

All with a membership card; the major issues on this special election day were for libraries covering the Akron-Summit County Library and Barberton Public Library systems. Both have been making the case declining state assistance at a time of great transition for lending libraries -- moving from hard copies to digital -- requires more support. Both organizations put renewal and increased levy bids before voters in this early spring ballot period hoping for the best but planning for another trip to the polls if needed by the end of the year.

The move to get it done early appears to be working.

Both Issue 8 for the Akron-Summit County Library and Issue 9 for the Barberton Public Library were enjoying support as early and absentee voting results were tallied just as polls closed at 7:30 p.m. The turnout was forecast to be very small, and those forecasts were right on target.

It turned out to be smart levy placement for area schools, too. All those on the Summit County ballot were winning by respectable margins despite Portage County precincts where votes were trending in the "against" column but not enough to outweigh the Summit County tally.

Results from the Summit County Board of Election are updated through the night; results for Aurora and Mogadore are for Summit County only and do not include results from Portage County precincts.

- - - 



PRECINCTS COUNTED (OF 363). . . . . 363 100.00
REGISTERED VOTERS - TOTAL . . . . . 307,967
BALLOTS CAST - TOTAL. . . . . . . 31,416 2,930 28,486
BALLOTS CAST - DEMOCRATIC . . . . . 4,069 12.95 402 3,667
BALLOTS CAST - REPUBLICAN . . . . . 2,829 9.00 251 2,578
BALLOTS CAST - NONPARTISAN. . . . . 24,518 78.04 2,277 22,241
VOTER TURNOUT - TOTAL . . . . . . 10.20

********** (Democratic) **********

For Judge of the Barberton Municipal Court
Unexpired Term Ending 12/31/17
(Vote for not more than ) 1
Paul Adamson . . . . . . . . . 1,904 50.98 210 1,694
Joe Fantozzi . . . . . . . . . 1,831 49.02 156 1,675

********** (Republican) **********

For Judge of the Barberton Municipal Court
Unexpired Term Ending 12/31/17
(Vote for not more than ) 1
Jill Flagg Lanzinger. . . . . . . 1,654 66.56 165 1,489
Brian A. Smith. . . . . . . . . 831 33.44 72 759

********** (Nonpartisan) **********

For Mayor
City of Twinsburg
(Vote for not more than ) 1
Ted Yates . . . . . . . . . . 1,190 47.02 66 1,124
Gary M. Sorace. . . . . . . . . 527 20.82 38 489
Brian Steele . . . . . . . . . 517 20.43 41 476
Michael A. Turle . . . . . . . . 297 11.73 16 281

Issue 1 - Coventry Township
Proposed Tax Levy, Fire, Renewal&Increase, 6.75m, 5 yr
(Vote for not more than ) 1
FOR THE TAX LEVY . . . . . . . . 1,320 60.49 66 1,254
AGAINST THE TAX LEVY. . . . . . . 862 39.51 69 793

Issue 2 - Aurora CSD
Proposed Tax Levy, Cur. Exp., Renewal, 5.61m, 5 yrs.
(Vote for not more than ) 1
FOR THE TAX LEVY . . . . . . . . 10 52.63 1 9
AGAINST THE TAX LEVY. . . . . . . 9 47.37 0 9

Issue 3 - Stow-Munroe Falls CSD
Proposed Tax Levy, Emer. Req., Renewal, 5.14m, 5 yrs.
(Vote for not more than ) 1
FOR THE TAX LEVY . . . . . . . . 2,755 71.61 112 2,643
AGAINST THE TAX LEVY. . . . . . . 1,092 28.39 72 1,020

Issue 4 - Coventry LSD
Proposed Tax Levy, Emer. Req., Renewal, 6.87m, 5 yrs.
(Vote for not more than ) 1
FOR THE TAX LEVY . . . . . . . . 1,585 55.54 81 1,504
AGAINST THE TAX LEVY. . . . . . . 1,269 44.46 94 1,175

Issue 5 - Manchester LSD
Proposed Tax Levy, Emer., Renewal, 1.47m, 5 yrs.
(Vote for not more than ) 1
FOR THE TAX LEVY . . . . . . . . 867 64.85 44 823
AGAINST THE TAX LEVY. . . . . . . 470 35.15 28 442

Issue 6 - Manchester LSD
Proposed Tax Levy, Cur. Exp., Renewal, 8.5m, 5 yrs.
(Vote for not more than ) 1
FOR THE TAX LEVY . . . . . . . . 876 65.77 44 832
AGAINST THE TAX LEVY. . . . . . . 456 34.23 27 429

Issue 7 - Mogadore LSD
Proposed Tax Levy, Cur. Exp., Addnl., 5.9m, Cont.
(Vote for not more than ) 1
FOR THE TAX LEVY . . . . . . . . 475 54.16 27 448
AGAINST THE TAX LEVY. . . . . . . 402 45.84 21 381

Issue 8 - Akron/Summit County Public Library
Proposed Tax Levy, Cur. Exp.,Rnwal&Increase,1.9m, 6 yrs.
(Vote for not more than ) 1
FOR THE TAX LEVY . . . . . . . . 16,177 69.59 1,700 14,477
AGAINST THE TAX LEVY. . . . . . . 7,070 30.41 698 6,372

Issue 9 - Barberton Public Library
Proposed Tax Levy,Cur. Exp.,Rnewal&Increase,1.95m,5yrs.
(Vote for not more than ) 1
FOR THE TAX LEVY . . . . . . . . 954 62.31 112 842
AGAINST THE TAX LEVY. . . . . . . 577 37.69 55 522

Issue 10 - Local Option, Green 4-A
Tommy Li's, Beer, Wine, Mix. Bev. & Spirits
(Vote for not more than ) 1
YES . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 78.75 12 51
NO. . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 21.25 2 15

Issue 11 - Local Option, Green 4-A
Tommy Li's, Sunday Sale, Beer,Wine,Mix.Bev&Spirits
(Vote for not more than ) 1
YES . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 70.89 7 49
NO. . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 29.11 6 17

Issue 12 - City of Macedonia
Proposed Tax Levy, Cur. Exp., Renewal, 5.07m, 5yrs.
(Vote for not more than ) 1
FOR THE TAX LEVY . . . . . . . . 542 61.87 48 494
AGAINST THE TAX LEVY. . . . . . . 334 38.13 31 303

Issue 13 - City of Twinsburg
Proposed Charter Amendment, Art. VII, Section 7A.01
(Vote for not more than ) 1
YES . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,887 79.32 142 1,745
NO. . . . . . . . . . . . . 492 20.68 19 473

Issue 14 - City of Twinsburg
Proposed Zoning Amendment, Ordinance 126-2014
(Vote for not more than ) 1
YES . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,610 69.94 127 1,483
NO. . . . . . . . . . . . . 692 30.06 26 666

It may take years but the memory of the law is just as long as the arm's reach. An Akron native who's been living a different life under a different name in Florida is coming back to Ohio to face the music in a 1957 manslaughter case.

Frank Freshwaters - also known as William Harold Cox -- took off after violatiing probation after he pleaded guilty in the death of a pedestrian following an auto accident. He was able to escape from the Sandusky Honor Farm, where he was finishing a sentence when he fled Ohio. West Virginia officials found him in 1975 but the then-Governor refused to send Freshwaters back to Ohio; that led to his release and he went into hiding. 

The U.S. Marshal's Service and Ohio Parole Authority, working with a new Cold Case Unit of the U.S. Marshal's Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force, tracked Freshwater to Melbourne, Florida where the now 79-year old was living under the name William Harold Cox. He'll be extradited back to Ohio but is currently in custody in a Florida jail.

- - - 

Freshwater Frank1957(NOVFTF) U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott and Ohio Adult Parole Authority Regional Director Todd Ishee announce the capture of one of Ohio's most wanted and long sought after fugitives. Frank Freshwaters, 79, a.k.a. William Harold Cox, was apprehended in Melbourne, FL yesterday after an extensive investigation by the new Cold Case Unit of the U.S. Marshal's Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force.

On July 3, 1957, Frank Freshwaters, of Akron, OH, was the driver of an automobile involved in an auto­pedestrian accident which resulted in a fatality. Freshwaters pleaded guilty to Voluntary Manslaughter and was sentenced to 1­20 years in prison. Initially, Freshwaters' sentence was suspended and he was given probation for 5 years. On February 19, 1959, Freshwaters was found guilty of violating his probation and his original sentence of 1­20 years was imposed. Freshwaters served time at the infamous Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield but was quickly able to earn the trust of the prison officials and was moved to the Sandusky Honor Farm to finish his sentence. On September 30, 1959, Freshwaters escaped and fled the State of Ohio at that time.

Freshwaters believed his luck ran out when the Kanawha County Sheriff's Office, in Charleston, WV, apprehended him on the Ohio warrant in October 1975. However, at thattime, the Governor of the State of West Virginia refused to extradite Freshwaters to Ohio. Freshwaters was released and again went into hiding.

When the new U.S. Marshals Cold Case Unit was established just three months ago, the Ohio Adult Parole Authority requested assistance on locating Freshwaters, one of their oldest cases. After weeks of investigation, the Cold Case Unit believed to have located Freshwaters living under the alias William Harold Cox in Melbourne, FL. The information was sent to the U.S. Marshals Regional Fugitive Task Force in Florida and they began to investigate from their end. After collaborative investigate efforts between U.S. Marshals in Ohio and Florida, it was determined that Cox was indeed Freshwaters and that it was time to serve justice.

Yesterday afternoon, U.S. Marshals in Florida arrested Freshwaters at his residence of 1200 Jones Rd., Melbourne, FL, without incident. Freshwaters admitted his true identity during the arrest and he was transported to the Brevard County Sheriff's Office to be held until he can be extradited back to Ohio.

U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott stated, "This is only the start of our Cold Case Unit. We will continue to work on catching the uncatchable! Working together with all of our law enforcement partners in Ohio, West Virginia and Florida, we were able to close one of our states oldest escape warrants and I am proud of all the efforts our team put forth into this investigation."

Ohio Adult Parole Authority Regional Director Todd Ishee stated, "This was one of our oldest cases that many believed to be impossible to solve. With this new Cold Case Unit at work, we are reopening many old fugitive files with the hope that we will continue to have the success that we have seen in these last few months. Great work by the investigators on bringing this cold case to a close!"

Thursday, 30 April 2015 16:42

Norton Man Busted On Fed Sex Charges

The federal government is charging a Norton man with sex crimes involving young children, including one as young as nine years old. Corey Bryant, 25, was arrested on charges he engaged in "illicit sexual conduct" with minors while working at a Honduran homeless agency dating back to 2011. Agents from the U.S Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) unit, police in Tegucigalpa, Honduras and the Norton Police Department assisted in the probe. Among the evidence taken by police executing a search warrant at Bryant's home were computer thumb drives, cell phones and a laptop computer.

- - -

(U.S. Justice Department) A Summit County man who worked at a homeless shelter for youths in Honduras was arrested and charged in federal court with engaging in sex with minor victims.

Corey Bryant, 25, of Norton, was arrested Wednesday afternoon following a search of his residence. Bryant charged in U.S. District Court with travelling to a foreign country to engage in illicit sexual conduct with minors. 

Bryant, while working at a Honduran homeless agency as far back as 2011, engaged in sexual conduct with three minor victims -- including one as young as 9 years old, according to the criminal complaint.

Bryant was initially ordered held without bond and was ordered to appear at a subsequent bond hearing on May 4, 2015.

During the search of his residence, HSI special agents seized two thumb drives, two cell phones and a laptop computer. The devices will undergo computer forensic examination. The federal charges are the product of an ongoing probe initiated after an anonymous tip was received December 2014 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Tip Line website.The investigation is being handled by ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). HSI Transnational Criminal Investigative Unit, HSI Tegucigalpa, and the Norton Police Department assisted in the investigation.

The federal prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael A. Sullivan. A charges is only charge an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2014, more than 2,300 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 1000 victims identified or rescued.