Friday, July 3, 2009

Frank McCorkle Lombard - "It's easier when the child is too young to talk"


DURHAM -- A federal affidavit submitted by a Washington, D.C., detective tells a chilling story of the abuse of a 5-year-old adopted boy.

The child's father, Frank McCorkle Lombard, 42, of Indigo Creek Trail in Durham, is charged with sex offense with a child, and is accused of persuading someone to cross state lines for illegal sexual activity. Lombard, a Duke University administrator, was released from the Durham County jail into U.S. marshals' custody Tuesday and is expected to face a federal judge in Washington within the next week. If convicted, he could face as long as 20 years in prison.

An unidentified individual facing unrelated child porn charges told federal investigators in mid-June that someone on an Internet chat program with the username "cooper2" or "cooperse" was sexually molesting a child. The person with the two usernames was later identified as Lombard, the affidavit said. As recently as last year, the individual said he saw Lombard perform sex acts on the child through a webcam.
The child was one of two adopted children in Lombard's home, which he shared with a live-in partner who did not participate in the abuse, said the individual, who added that others also molested the child. The affidavit did not say whether the other child, whose age was not revealed, was abused. It also did not say how long the abuse of the 5-year-old went on.
Lombard's online profile stated he was interested in "perv fam fun," a reference to child molestation, the document said.

On June 23, Washington police detective Timothy Palchak, posing as a child predator, had an online conversation with Lombard. Palchak is part of the Northern Virginia Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

"During that online conversation, the user with the display name 'FL' stated that he had sexually molested his adopted male, African-American child who he had adopted as an infant and is currently five years old," the document said. He described having oral sex with the child and fondling the child.

Lombard later said he didn't molest the child while his partner was home but that the partner was going on a four-day business trip.
"He further 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," the affidavit said.
The next day, Lombard showed Palchak a picture of the 5-year-old and invited him to fly to Durham to have sexual contact with the child, the affidavit said. Instead, Lombard was arrested that evening. Investigators seized two webcams, five computers and a sex toy from his home, among other items. The two children were placed in protective custody by social services.

News of Lombard's arrest quickly spread through the circles he associated with -- and they remain tight-lipped. His neighbors in Eno Commons, a co-housing community in north Durham, have kept reporters out.

Lombard was part of a group that advised on legal and financial matters at The Episcopal Church of the Advocate in Carrboro. He is listed as inactive on the church's Web site. Church leaders referred interview requests to a statement from the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, which said that church leaders were cooperating with investigators.

"The church is providing pastoral care and spiritual guidance for all parishioners who have been affected by this painful situation," Bishop Michael B. Curry said on the diocese's Web site.
Lombard seemed like a good father to his two children, said Sandy Barnhart, who attended the same church. She said he was a quiet and knowledgeable person who was excited about the research he did at Duke.

"I was absolutely floored," she said of hearing about Lombard's arrest. "I've seen him with the kids, and he seemed to be a caring father. It seemed like [they lived in a] structured environment. He wasn't spoiling the kids. He seemed like a regular parent."
Lombard has worked at Duke since 1999 and was associate director of the university's Center for Health Policy. He was a researcher who has obtained millions in federal grants to study HIV/AIDS in the rural south. He was placed on unpaid administrative leave last Thursday.

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