Sex Offender Charles Eric Waugh Arrested
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Charles Eric Waugh is behind bars tonight.
The sex offender at the center of a bizarre story involving social networks and the Ohio State football program was arrested Monday afternoon in his hometown of Ashland, Ky.
The 31-year old Waugh was formally booked in the Boyd County Detention Center just days after a photo surfaced on the internet showing the registered sex offender with three high-profile underage high school football recruits.
One of those recruits, a linebacker named Alex Anzalone, actually revoked his verbal commitment to the Buckeyes after learning of Waugh’s true identity. The Kentucky native, and proclaimed Ohio State football fan, was arrested in 2007 and charged with five counts of possessing material portraying sexual performances by minors.
The FBI office in Oklahoma City had tracked Waugh downloading images of boys younger than 16 engaged in sexual acts and coordinated with the bureau's Louisville office to pursue charges against Waugh.
Due to his lack of a record, Waugh was released on probation without serving jail time, but was forced to register as a sexual offender in the state of Kentucky. His recent actions, however, led to Waugh’s re-arrest Monday on charges of violating his probation and failure to comply with his sex offender registration.
Waugh could face an additional Class A misdemeanor charge for his use of social networks with boys under the age of 18. That charge, coupled with the two previous charges, would likely be enough to land Waugh in prison, especially considering he avoided jail time back in 2007 for agreeing to demonstrate good behavior.
"Waugh allegedly failed to disclose to Probation and Parole the Internet communication name identities he was utilizing," the Kentucky State Police said in a statement Monday.
"The investigation revealed Waugh had Twitter, Facebook and email accounts under an alias name."
Whether or not Waugh’s actions were sexually motivated is unknown, and in many ways irrelevant. In contacting Anzalone and other high school prospects under the age of 18 through Twitter and Facebook, Waugh violated his parole before he ever stepped foot on the Ohio State campus.
He sealed his own fate, however, when he decided to take his interactions from cyberspace to High Street.
Prior to that moment, Waugh had tweeted inspirational messages, among other things, at over 100 Ohio State players, staff and recruits. It wasn’t until he approached Anzalone and a number of other OSU football recruits during their unofficial visits to Columbus back in April that Waugh’s interactions were brought to light.
Ohio State’s Department of Athletics became proactive after the photo emerged revealing Waugh’s face-to-face encounter with Anzalone and two other prospects. The University emailed more than 1,000 Ohio State student-athletes to alert them of Waugh’s true identity.
“The University has become aware that an individual who is listed on Kentucky's sex offender registry has recently been seen in pictures with our student-athletes,” the email read.
“The individual's name is Charles Eric Waugh. We have reason to believe that he has a Twitter account under the name: BdubsTriviaGuru. We strongly recommend that you take the steps to block his access to your Twitter and Facebook accounts.”
That email was sent out Friday, the same day Anzalone de-committed from Ohio State’s football team. The police in Kentucky barely waited until the weekend was over to arrest Waugh and charge him with violating his probation.
As for the status of Anzalone, the Buckeyes will have to wait and see. His father, Dr. Sal Anzalone doubled back on his initial comments, which blamed Ohio State for allowing Waugh to gain access to his son.
Anzalone's Original Commitment - By Tony Gerdman
Anzalone's Decommitment - By Tony Gerdeman
If Anzalone Wants In, Ohio State Should Welcome Him - By Brandon Castel
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