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A Youngstown police sergeant is facing felony charges for soliciting sex from a 14-year-old rape victim.
Sgt. Robert B. Lodwick, 40, was charged Friday with importuning, which investigators said is the online solicitation of sex with a minor and possessing photos of the naked 14-year-old girl. Authorities said he started having improper contact with the alleged victim after being assigned to investigate a rape case involving the girl.
Bond was set at $100,000 at his initial appearance in Youngstown Municipal Court. If Lodwick posts bond, he will be released on electronically monitored house arrest.
Lodwick met the 14-year-old girl while he was assigned to the Family Services Unit in the police department. He then began soliciting the girl for sex.
“The victim in this case is the victim of a rape case wherein he was the detective assigned to that case. And by rights, he should have been protecting her, not soliciting her as alleged in the complaint,” said Youngstown City Prosecutor Dana Lantz.
Investigators first learned about the incident a week ago after the alleged victim filed a complaint with the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office.
“The person being interviewed by the CSB had made an allegation of improper activity,” said Sheriff Jerry Greene.
The next day, the Sheriff and Youngstown Police Chief Rod Foley made a call for help from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.
“One of our cyber crimes agents became involved with an undercover chat with Sgt. Lodwick and following that ongoing activity for a period of time, it was determined that it was appropriate to bring him in,” said Ohio BCI special agent Joe Dietz.
And as soon as they had enough evidence to go on, they arrested Lodwick, even calling him off patrol early Friday morning to take him into custody. He turned in his gun and was placed on administrative leave from the department.
He is being kept in the minimum security portion of the jail, records said. He is being segregated from other inmates because they’ve made threats against him because of the alleged crime and because he’s a police officer.
Lodwick, according to his personnel file, spent 18 months in Iraq with his Ohio National Guard unit from Dec. 1, 2003 through the spring of 2005.
He had no disciplinary issues with the department, according to his file. On Aug. 18, 2011 he drove his car into a pole in front of the Mahoning County Sheriff’s office and was docked four hours pay.
He received five letters of merit between 2006 and 2010, including accommodations for investigating a South Side youth gang that resulted in charges against 15 kids, apprehending a suspect in an aggravated robbery on the East Side 2008, for apprehending a double-murder suspect in 2008 and for a traffic stop that led to gun charges in 2008.
Lodwick was hired May 8, 2000. He was promoted Dec. 7 to sergeant, where his salary increased to $59,414 per year.
Foley said he was recently reassigned from the Family Services Unit to the night shift patrol as a supervisor because of some retirements on the force.
“We hold these officers in very high esteem in this department. And they’re given a lot of ability out there by the public to go out there and solve crimes. And they expect to trust us. We felt that we lost that trust a little bit today. And we have to gain it back. This is why we needed to make sure we did this very quickly,” Foley said.
He said he was “disappointed and disgusted” in Lodwick’s actions.
Lodwick’s personnel file shows he received a certificate Sept. 14 for completing the Ohio Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Investigation training.