Local News

Duke employee arrested on child sex charge

Posted June 26, 2009 1:30 p.m. EDT
Updated June 29, 2009 12:22 p.m. EDT

— Agents from the FBI, SBI and Durham police officers arrested a Duke University employee Wednesday, alleging that he solicited an adult to have sex with his adopted 5-year-old child.

Officers of the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department and the FBI’s Charlotte Division worked together to investigate claims against Frank M. Lombard, 42, of 24 Indigo Creek Trail in Durham.

Lombard is associate director of the Center for Health Policy at Duke. Duke Vice President for Public Affairs Michael Schoenfeld said Lombard was placed on unpaid leave at the time of his arrest and that the university was cooperating with the investigation.

According to the affidavit for his arrest, an undercover officer from the Washington police identified Lombard through an Internet sting. The affidavit contains graphic descriptions of sexual acts and outlines the case against Lombard.

The affidavit says the FBI was tipped off to his activities by an unnamed informant who also faces charges in a child sex case.

The affidavit describes conversations in which the informant told the FBI he had online video chat sessions using a software program called ICUii with a user who identified himself as “cooper2” or “cooperse.” A subpoena of account information from ICUii connected Lombard to the “cooper2” user name, the affidavit says.

The affidavit says the informant described “cooper2” as a white man in his mid-40s, tall and of medium build, clean-shaven with brown hair and wearing glasses. The informant told agents that he saw “cooper2” perform sex acts on a young African-American child via these online chats on multiple occasions. The affidavit said the informant’s description of the man he met online corresponded with the description of Frank Mccorkle Lombard.

ICUii also shared with the FBI a complaint filed in January 2007 against Frank Lombard from another user. That user alleged Lombard said he "was into incest" and had adopted two African-American children, the affidavit says.

On Monday, according to the affidavit, Det. Timothy Palchak of the Washington Metropolitan Police Department, chatted online with a person using the name “F.L.” Palchak said “F.L.” described specific sex acts he had performed on a 5-year-old child and said that he lived in Durham.

A search warrant filed for Lombard's house further outlines the case against him, and includes a transcript of the chat between Palchak and "F.L."

In the chat transcript, "F.L." is asked how he got access to a child so young. "Adopted," he replied, and said that the process was "not so hard ... esp (sic) for a black boy."

In the chat, "F.L.” told Palchak that abusing the child was "easier when he was too young to know what was happening and when he couldn't talk ...He had a little too much Benadryl. Was knocked out."

In a subsequent online chat, the warrant says, “F.L.” invited Palchak, who he did not realize was a police detective, to fly to Durham to have sexual contact with the child. He even suggested a hotel.

Lombard faces a federal charge of attempting to induce someone to cross state lines to engage in a sexual offense. He was being held without bond at the Durham County jail Friday. A conviction would carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Lombard has retained an attorney. He had an initial appearance in federal court in Durham Friday. He will be taken to Washington, D.C. to faces the charges. Multiple attempts to contact Lombard's attorney Friday afternoon were unsuccessful.

When officers arrived at Lombard’s home Wednesday, two children were present, the FBI said. Both were taken into protective custody by the North Carolina Department of Social Services.

Digital forensic investigator Giovanni Masucci is not connected to this case. He said he has seen cases like this one and they are disturbing.

“You are seeing a lot of bad things. You are talking to bad predators. You are seeing bad photographs. Yes, it can get very disturbing,” Masucci said.