By Maggi Martin, The Cleveland Plain Dealer
The FBI and police departments in Ohio and Pennsylvania have formed a
task force to try to capture a man who they say targets young girls
and sexually assaults them in their homes in the late afternoon.
Scott Wilson, special agent in Painesville's FBI office, said nine
girls have been assaulted in the last two years in Geauga, Lake,
Mahoning, Medina and Summit counties and most recently in western
Wilson said many of the assaults have similarities. He said the young
victims' descriptions of their attacker's size varied.
The victims' descriptions of their attackers' height and weight
varied, but all agreed he was in his 20s or 30s with light brown or
blond hair. In several of the attacks he was wearing sunglasses.
In most cases, a young male carrying either a clipboard or a package
knocks on the door and asks if any adults are home. He gets inside by
asking for directions or inquiring about neighbors. The man then
attempts to, and in several cases actually did, sexually assault the
girls, who are between the ages of 11 and 17, Wilson said.
In several cases, the attacker followed the girls home from a school
bus drop-off, Wilson said.
"We want to get parents talking to their children about the dangers
of letting any stranger in the house," Wilson said. "Don't take
chances. Tell your children to talk through the [locked] door and
never disclose that their parents are not home."
Wilson said the attacker is believed to be driving a dark-colored,
The first assault was on April 10, 2001, on Ridge Road in Perry
Township. Other incidents occurred in May, August and September of
2002 in Bainbridge, Bath and Hinckley townships and in Boston Heights
and Hudson. One occurred in November in Lake Milton in Mahoning
County. The most recent ones occurred in March and May in Fairview
and Springfield townships in western Pennsylvania, just across the
Wilson said police and the FBI believe some residents may have seen a
suspicious person or vehicle in these neighborhoods that may help
solve the case.
Anyone with information or tips on the case can contact the FBI hot
line at 1-800-894-3599 or write to the FBI at P.O. Box 767,
Painesville, OH 44077.