CLEARFIELD – A Clearfield teen who has been accused of attempting to lure a 13-year-old girl through Facebook messenger to meet for sex waived his right to a preliminary hearing during centralized court Wednesday.
Romie D. Young III, 18, of Clearfield has been charged by Officer Zachary S. Cowan of the Lawrence Township police with two counts each of unlawful contact with minor/sexual offenses, corruption of minors/defendant age 18 or above and criminal use of a communications facility. Bail has been set at $50,000.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, on Jan. 12 Cowan was informed about a report made of an 18-year-old male, later identified as Young, having contact with the victim who was 13 years old.
When a family member became aware of a conversation the victim was having with Young, he reviewed Facebook messages. Messages started Jan. 10 and concluded after he found them on the victim’s phone around two hours before contacting police.
Several messages sent by Young were inappropriate, the family member told Cowan. Young was allegedly asking the victim to have sex with him, and he was aware of her age after asking in one message.
Young also allegedly set up a place to meet the victim to go to have sex Jan. 20. When shown the messages, Cowan observed several that incriminated Young; he asked the victim to come to the police station with the family member.
When the victim arrived at the station, Cowan had her Facebook logged into, and he printed the entire conversation between her and Young. He also captured screenshots of the conversation.
During an interview, the victim said she initially thought Young was joking. However, she said as the conversation went on, he continued to be persistent.
Cowan found several Facebook messages and emojis that were sexual in nature from Young. When the topic came up, the victim would change the subject. In one message, Young asked the victim for her age, he replied “… yea over four years.”
Later on, he allegedly asked the victim when they could “hang alone,” and he persisted with sexual messages/emojis. They arranged to meet Jan. 20, but he tried to move the date up.
Upon further investigation, Cowan found Young was on probation and had been arrested for previous sexual offenses.
During an interview with police, Young admitted that he’d talked with the victim about having sex and setting up a date, but they never did meet up. After giving consent, police searched Young’s phone and located a photo of the victim and messages sent to her through Facebook.
Cowan also found that Young sent the victim a message the day after a family member had seized her phone to try to continue contact with her. He allegedly admitted to “having thoughts” and being “attracted” to younger females.
Young told police there weren’t any other victims between the last and current case. His cell phone was seized as evidence.