A Pittsburgh, PA man has been charged with numerous sex crimes after allegedly driving to New Jersey to meet up for sex with an 11-year-old girl he met online.
Robert Clayton, 35, has been charged with aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, luring, and endangering the welfare of a child after an investigation by Toms River and Lakewood police, as well as the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.
According to Al Della Fave, spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, Clayton met the girl on social media and drove to her home May 1, at which time he took her to a local hotel. On May 3, authorities learned the girl had been sexually assaulted and began an investigation to determine the identity of the suspect.
The victim, Della Fave said, was unable to identify the hotel, but was able to provide details about the suspect’s appearance, the vehicle he was driving and information about his social media accounts. A canvas of local hotels led to the identity of the hotel where the alleged assault took place.
Sgt. David Deleeuw and Detective Matthew Scutti of the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department CSI Unit processed the crime scene. During the investigation, it was learned that Clayton had recently pawned various items, including a cellular telephone. Prosecutor’s office Sgt. Michael Cecchini was contacted and assisted with the recovery those items, while Lakewood Police Lt. Steven Allaire obtained information from New Jersey State Police which identified the defendant’s vehicle.
On May 5 at approximately 12 noon, off-duty Sgt. Steven Austin of the Toms River Police Department spotted the defendant’s vehicle at the Wawa store located on Rt. 9 in Toms River and contacted patrol units, who detained Clayton as part of the continuing investigation. After he was in custody, Clayton’s vehicle was seized and he was charged.
Superior Court Judge Melanie Donohue Appleby set bail at $375,000 cash and ordered the defendant to have no contact with the victim. He remains lodged in the Ocean County Jail.