Rimersburg man faces child porn charges

By Rodney L. Sherman

CLARION NEWS Editor

RIMERSBURG

A 71-year-old Rimersburg man faces numerous charges after police allegedly found 13 images of a 15-year-old girl in various stages of undress, to the point of nudity.

The suspect James Earl Arner allegedly gave the girl food and "pods" for vaping pens in exchange for hugs and photos.

Editor's note: The suspect is not Clarion County Senior Judge James G. Arner and is not affiliated with judge.

According to court documents filed at District Judge Jeff Miller's office in New Bethlehem, state police were alerted to the possibility of child abuse by an online referral.

State police Tpr. Rod Hotchkiss interviewed the guardian of the girl who told police Arner sometimes took the girl to doctor and other appointments when the guardian had to work.

The guardian told Hotchkiss he sometimes found Arner's behavior odd, and related Arner would bring food to the house for the girl but not for her siblings.

The guardian said after another girl tipped him off to inappropriate text messages between the girl and Arner, he told Arner to stay away from the house when he was at work.

The guardian told police Arner continued to come to the house when he was not home.

The guardian told police Arner recently purchased an Apple iPhone 12 for the girl.

Online resources indicate an Apple iPhone can cost between $800 and $1,100.

The guardian said he had many of the text messages between Arner and the girl saved on his telephone and showed those messages to police.

Police allegedly observed texts from the girl to Arner, asking him to buy "pods" for her vaping use and promising hugs and a picture.

Arner allegedly asked for photographs of the girl in a swimsuit and said he would give one pod and she could get another by sending him a photo of herself after getting out of the shower.

Arner also allegedly sent a text message referencing dinner together and that dropping things off for her was "making him nuts."

Court documents contend Arner's online profile icon was that of a knight in armor.

Police interviewed the 15-year-old girl who allegedly admitted to the texting relationship.

The girl allegedly told police when Arner brought her food or other things, she would allow him to hug her at which time he would squeeze her tight and sometimes smack her butt.

The girl allegedly told police Arner purchased the Apple iPhone for her and he pays the monthly service fee.

Based on the interviews, police obtained a search warrant for various electronic devices at Arner's home. Police investigators allegedly found the images of the girl with her first name.

Arner is charged with 13 counts of possession of child pornography, a second-degree felony; illegal contact with a minor for sexual purposes, also a second-degree felony; criminal use of a communication facility, a three-degree felony; corruption of a minor, a first-degree misdemeanor; and indecent assault on a person less than 16, a second-degree misdemeanor, all between September and October in Madison Township.

Arner has posted $75,000 bail and is scheduled to return to court Nov. 2 for a preliminary hearing on the charges.

STRATTANVILLE - A woman accused of stealing more than $70,000 from the Strattanville Volunteer Fire Department was sentenced Oct. 6 in Clarion County Court to serve seven years on probation.

CLARION - A Clarion County jury Sept. 24 convicted Floyd Harry Watson, 45, Knox, on 111 charges relating to the rape of a girl over a six-year period.

ELK TWP. -- Pamela J. Raybuck, 66, Kossuth, Sept. 15 pleaded guilty to one count of reckless driving resulting in death, a summary offense, and has paid a fine and court costs totaling $610.

LOWER BURRELL - A member of the Clarion-Limestone School Board faces an Oct. 19 preliminary hearing on charges he was driving under the influence of alcohol at 1:27 a.m. Aug. 21 in the City of Lower Burrell, Westmoreland County.