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(844) 627-8267 | Info@NationalCyberSecurity

OSP arrests suspected online child sex predator in Ashtabula | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

CLEVELAND — A 50-year-old man is in custody after being the target of an investigation into online child internet crimes by the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSP).

Members of the OSP’s Office of Investigative Services from the Cleveland and Warren districts conducted a joint operation on Tuesday, July 11. Investigators engaged in undercover online conversations with an adult male on a popular social media platform. The suspect, identified as 50-year-old Gary M. Cowell of Ashtabula, asked to meet up with the intent of performing sexual acts with the investigators who were posing as an underage female. 

Cowell was arrested by troopers from the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Special Response Team upon his arrival at the predetermined location. Cowell was taken to the Ashtabula County Jail and charged with Importuning, a felony of the fifth degree; Attempted Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor, a felony of the fourth degree; and Possessing Criminal Tools, a felony of the fifth degree.

“We conduct details like this in an effort to reduce the presence of online child predators and the exploitation of children in our communities,” said Colonel Charles A. Jones, Patrol superintendent. “Through these collaborations, we focus on our shared mission to stop child exploitation and educate Ohioans on human trafficking.”

The OSP says the operation was done in collaboration with the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Office and the Northeast Ohio Regional Human Trafficking Task Force.

If you are a victim of exploitation or you know of a child being sexually exploited online, call the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) 24-Hour CyberTipline at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678), or call the Patrol at #677.

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