WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A former Florida TV weatherman is accused of unlawful sexual activity with minors appeared in court Wednesday morning.
Robert J. Lopicola has been charged with Unlawful Sexual Activity with Certain Minors, Lewd or Lascivious Battery and Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation in Palm Beach County Florida.
Wednesday a judge ruled Lopicola will be held on $130,000 bond without Internet access, contact with victims or minors.
The investigation apparently began when one of the victims met with investigators from the Farmington Hills Police Department after moving to Michigan.
He is charged in relation to two separate incidents that police say date back to 2010.
Police say he met the minors involved through Craigslist.
Lopicola was arrested Monday but his first court appearance didn't come until Wednesday morning so he could obtain a court appointed attorney.
According to the probable cause affidavit filed by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, a 15-year-old boy met Lopicola through a Craigslist personal ad. Authorities say the 15-year-old teen lied about his age and told Lopicola he was 18.
When the teen confronted Lopicola about his age, he responded "14 to 16-years-old is perfect baby,” according to the affidavit.
The affidavit also states that the teenager spoke with Lopicola about attending high school and told him what grade he was in.
According to authorities, after the teen and Lopicola corresponded on Craigslist, there were text messages and pictures exchanged between them. Deputies say the teenager later met with Lopicola in person and they engaged in sexual acts.
In 2010, Lopicola allegedly placed another personal Craigslist ad stating he was 18-years-old and was a male seeking a male. A 15-year-old boy answered Lopicola’s ad, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit states the 15-year-old teen lied to Lopicola about his age stating he was 16, but eventually told him his real age. When Lopicola found out the teenage boy was underage, authorities said Lopicola continued a relationship with him.
Authorities say, after the teen and Lopicola corresponded on Craigslist, there were multiple explicit text messages and pictures exchanged between them. The teenager later met with Lopicola and engaged in sexual activity with him, according to the probable cause affidavit.
Palm Beach Sheriff’s County Office, West Palm Beach Police department, Farmington Hills Police department, the U.S. Marshals and the State Attorney’s Office were part of this ongoing investigation.
Lopicola was formerly employed by WPTV, a Scripps Station in West Palm Beach Florida. Scripps is also the parent company of WXYZ-TV.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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