June 26, 2009 -- A Duke University official has been charged in federal court with offering his 5-year-old adopted son up for sex. Frank Lombard, associate director of the Center for Health Policy, was arrested Wednesday in Raleigh, the FBI said.
An unidentified informant who already faces child porn charges in a different child sex case pointed investigators to Lombard, according to court documents. The informant told investigators he had met Lombard on the Internet four years ago. The informant described in graphic detail how he allegedly observed Lombard molesting an African-American child on four occasions over an Internet video chat service called ICUii.
The informant said, according to court papers, that Lombard, who is white, said that he lived in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina and that the child was one of two adopted African-Americans in his custody.
Lombard has been charged with attempting to induce someone to cross state lines to engage in sex with a child, punishable by a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Lombard allegedly used the adult Internet service to conduct his video chats. According to an affidavit in support of the arrest warrant, the Internet service indicated that Lombard's profile "stated he was interested in "perv fam fun," a reference to "incestuous child molestation." The service also told investigators that a customer service complaint had been sent to the company in January 2007. A customer who had chatted with Lombard complained to the company that Lombard said he was "into incest" and had adopted two African-American children, court records said.
A Washington, D.C., police detective who was investigating the case set up undercover chats with someone matching Lombard's description during which the detective says he was invited to fly to Raleigh to have sex with the person's 5- year-old adopted child. In his affidavit, Det. Timothy Palchak wrote that he engaged in a chat with someone using the screen name "FL" who provided nude pictures of himself. The pictures matched Lombard's North Carolina driver's license photo, according to the affidavit.
During the chats, according to the affidavit, "FL" told undercover investigators that he had himself molested his child, whom he adopted as an infant, and that he had allowed others to molest his child. "FL" stated that "the abuse of the child was easier when the child was too young to talk or know what was happening, but that he had drugged the child with Benadryl during the molestation," Palchak wrote in his affidavit.
Duke Suspect on Unpaid Leave
Two children were taken from Lombard's home and put into protective custody by the North Carolina Department of Social Services, an FBI statement said.
Michael Schoenfeld, a Duke University spokesman, told ABC News that Lombard has been placed on unpaid leave and that the university is cooperating fully with the investigation. Lombard has been employed by Duke since 1999, Schoenfeld said.
Appearing today in federal court in Durham, Lombard agreed to be transferred to Washington for a later court hearing. His lawyer did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.