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Ex-child services worker convicted of porn charge

A former Lucas County Children Services caseworker accused of sexually abusing a teenage boy in Missouri was convicted yesterday on an unrelated pornography charge in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

Wesley D. Raber, of 45 Strang Circle, pleaded no contest to illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented materials. The charge, which was filed in a bill of information, stems from a search of Raber's home computer in January.

Lori Olender, an assistant prosecutor, said photos of nude boys under age 18 were found in the computer. The photos were downloaded between Jan. 21 and 30.

Ms. Olender said Raber, 32, told investigators the 56 photos were used for a college class that he took two years ago. However, the alibi that the images were in the computer for a college assignment could not be verified, she said.

The charge, a fifth-degree felony, carries a maximum one-year prison term, but Raber is eligible for community control. Judge Frederick McDonald scheduled sentencing for June 25.

Raber is being held in the county jail in lieu of $50,000 bond.

Sheriff's deputies and Toledo Area Metroparks police searched the computer while investigating allegations that Raber molested a 13-year-old Toledo-area boy while they were traveling through Missouri to attend a Naturalist Scout Group event. The victim's parents reported the incident to University City, Mo., police in April, 2001.

St. Louis County police have asked that Raber be sent to Missouri after his sentencing on the pornography charge. A warrant charging him with statutory sodomy has been filed with the county sheriff's office.

Raber was a caseworker for Children Services from March, 2000, to May, 2001. Rod Brandt, a Children Services spokesman, said some of the 35 children who came into contact with Raber were interviewed. However, none of those interviewed made any allegations about sexual abuse. “We did not have any children who voluntarily disclosed that they had been abused by Wes Raber. We don't have any credible information that any of them did,” Mr. Brandt said. “Results of interviews were passed on to law enforcement officers and the prosecutor's office. We did not see anything credible out of the information that we gathered that would lead us to be certain that something happened.”

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