Sheriff’s officials say an Ohio man traveled from his home in Ohio to Lake County to meet who he thought was a young child for a sexual encounter after communicating with her online.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Group and Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) concluded an investigation on Monday into Zachary S. Clemens, 38, of Dublin, Ohio.
Clemens was communicating with an undercover detective online for the past several weeks, according to Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli.
The detective was posing as a girl under the age of 14.
Clemens sent nude photos of himself to who he believed was the young child during the conversations, Covelli said.
Covelli said Clemens created a plan to drive over 300 miles from his home state to meet the “girl” and engage in a sexual encounter with her.
The man drove to Lake County on Tuesday for the arranged meetup.
When Clemens arrived, he was met by detectives with the Special Investigations Group who arrested him. He was transported to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
Detectives discovered he possessed a small amount of cocaine when he was taken into custody, Covelli said.
The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office reviewed the case and approved charges of attempted aggravated criminal sexual abuse, indecent solicitation of a child, traveling to meet a minor, grooming and unlawful possession of a controlled substance.
“Our Special Investigations Group identified and stopped another person from being able to meet a child for sexual purposes. This time, the person drove over 300 miles to try and meet who he thought was a child,” Lake County Sheriff John D. Idleburg said.
“We have zero tolerance for those preying on our most vulnerable and will exhaust all efforts to identify and arrest those who try,” Idleburg said.
Clemens remains held in the Lake County Jail pending a first appearance court hearing Tuesday morning.