Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato announced that yesterday (10/11), Robert Clayton, 36, of Pittsburgh, PA, pled guilty before Judge Rochelle Gizinski, J.S.C., to the most serious charge of Aggravated Sexual Assault, a first degree offense.  Clayton is facing 20 years with a 15 year period of parole ineligibility pursuant to the plea agreement.  The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant Prosecutor Christine Lento.

Clayton was arrested on 5/5/16, in a great cooperative effort by OCPO, the Toms River and Lakewood Police Departments.   OCPO Special Victims Unit Det. Stephanie Bayha and Toms River Police Department Det. Jennifer Grob, were lead investigators into the alleged victimization of an 11 year old female.  The partnering detectives, with assistance from OCPO Major Crime Det. John Murphy, Lakewood PD Det. Lynn Miller and OCPO High Tech Crimes Unit Det. John Dotto, alleges that after the victim met the defendant via social media, Clayton drove to the victim’s residence on Saturday (5/1/16), picked her up and took her to an Ocean County hotel.

On 5/3/16, the investigation led to information that the victim was sexually assaulted by Clayton while at the hotel.  The victim was unable to identify the hotel, but was able to provide details about the defendant’s appearance, the vehicle he was driving and information about his social media accounts.  A canvas of local hotels by Det. Thomas Tiernan of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit, led to the identity of the hotel where the alleged assault took place.  Sgt. David Deleeuw and Det. Matthew Scutti of the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department CSI Unit responded and processed the crime scene.

In addition, it was learned that Clayton had pawned various items, including a cellular telephone.  OCPO Sgt. Michael Cecchini was contacted and assisted with the recovery of said items.  Further, Lt. Steven Allaire of the Lakewood Police Department obtained information which identified the defendant’s vehicle.  On 5/5/16, at approximately 12 pm, off duty Sgt. Steven Austin of the Toms River Police Department located the defendant’s vehicle at the Wawa located on Rt. 9 in Toms River.  He immediately contacted patrol units and Clayton was detained for transport to Toms River Police Department as part of the continuing investigation.  The defendant’s vehicle was seized to be processed at a later date.  It was at this time Clayton was charged with Aggravated Sexual Assault, Sexual Assault, Luring, and Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

Ocean County Superior Court Judge Melanie Donohue Appleby set bail at $375,000 no 10% at the time of his arrest and ordered the defendant to have no contact with the victim as per a Nicole’s Law.  He has remained incarcerated since the time of his arrest.



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