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Sports editor held for trial in sex case

| Saturday, Oct. 1, 2005

A sports editor at an area newspaper was ordered to stand trial Friday on charges that he tried to set up a sexual encounter through the Internet with a 12-year-old girl.

Thomas J. Rose, 52, of Washington, Pa., is charged with attempted unlawful contact with a minor and criminal use of a communication facility. He was a sports editor at the Observer-Reporter in Washington.

The state Attorney General's office alleges that Rose tried to set up a meeting with a girl through an Internet chat room. But the girl was agent Lisa Ceh, who works for the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit.

Ceh posed as a seventh-grader named "Jessica" in an Internet chat room for teens on Sept. 9. She was contacted by a man who authorities say was Rose.

Rose allegedly said he wanted to meet her. The two talked several times in the following days. They set up a rendezvous for Sept. 16 at a McDonald's off Route 30 in North Huntingdon Township, which is where Rose was arrested.

Yesterday, Ceh testified before District Judge Douglas R. Weimer Jr. that Rose brought condoms with him, as she had requested.

Rose remains free on bond.

Park Burroughs, the Observer-Reporter's editor, said he couldn't comment on Rose's status with the newspaper, citing employer-employee confidentiality.

However, he has said that Rose won't be working at the paper in the near future.

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