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Wakeman PD online sex sting nabs 6th suspect

Cary Ashby • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:51 PM

The Wakeman Police Department made its second arrest in less than a week Tuesday as part of an ongoing online sex sting investigation.

Thomas E. Marquis, 26, of Bellefontaine, was arrested on a warrant without incident at his home about 4:15 p.m. He was charged with multiple felony counts of importuning and disseminating matter harmful to juveniles.

"Marquis had been communicating with (someone) he thought to be a 14-year-old girl, but was actually Investigator Josh Rice of the Wakeman Police Department. The conversations became sexual almost immediately," Chief Tim Hunker said.

"There was a Web cam set up as well as photos and movies of pornography sent to Investigator Rice from Marquis. These chats started over seven months ago," Hunker added.

Marquis currently is in custody at the Huron County Jail awaiting a pending bond hearing in Norwalk Municipal Court.

Two Wakeman officers as well as authorities from the Bellefontaine Police Department and Logan County Sheriff's Office seized about 40 pieces of evidence and transferred them back to Wakeman.

On Friday, McArthur resident Scott D. Sims, 25, was arrested under similar circumstances in connection with Rice's joint investigation with the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children's Taskforce (OICAC). Rice has said he talked with Sims in an online chatroom "a couple times a week" starting in January and Sims began having sexual conversations with him "within a minute or two."

The Vinton County man further is accused of revealing himself to Rice through a Web cam.

Also on Friday, Kyle R. Halsey, 26, of New Lexington, was sentenced to 80 days in jail and was fined $1,000 for driving to Wakeman in the fall for the purposes of sexual activity with a 14-year-old girl. He had a sexually-oriented conversation with Rice in a chat room.

A judge also prohibited Halsey from using a personal computer or cell phone and from having any association with juveniles outside of family members during his five years of probation.

Hunker estimated that Rice, a part-time officer, spends 10 to 20 hours each week online at the Wakeman police station or at OICAC's Parma office as part of the investigation. The probe started officially in January.

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