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Police: Man Arrested for Going Online to Find Someone to Rape Wife

November 7, 1996

BOSTON (AP) _ Pretending to be a 21-year-old woman, a man went online to hire someone to rape and sexually mutilate his wife.

But the person Harold Clarkson connected with happened to be a Massachusetts state trooper responsible for searching online services for criminals, police said.

``He spent 10 or 15 minutes in a public chat room recruiting someone to kidnap and torture his wife, so I took him in a private room and led him to believe I might help him,″ Lt. Andrew Palombo said Wednesday.

It was that computer connection that led to Clarkson’s arrest Tuesday.

The 50-year-old machinist from Rutland, Vt., logged onto America Online last month as ``Trudy21,″ and said he was looking to hire some to kidnap his ``sister,″ beat her with a baseball bat, rape her with a champagne bottle and commit other sex acts.

Clarkson said he was looking for someone from the Northeast to do the job.

He provided Palombo with his wife’s name, their home address, her work address and a description of her car. He made arrangements with Palombo to perform the acts in the coming weeks, Palombo said.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts authorities contacted AOL and traced ``Trudy21″ to Clarkson.

Another trooper contacted him and set up a meeting place in Rutland, where Clarkson was arrested and charged with solicitation to incite a felony to kidnap and torture his wife, Palombo said.

Clarkson was being held without bail.

When asked about motive, ``Trudy said she wanted essentially to repay her sister for what she had done to her when she was young,″ said Robert Sikellis, the state attorney general’s chief of special investigations.

Police nationwide have been monitoring the Internet and other information services for online criminals, especially since the killing in Lenoir, N.C., of Sharon Lopatka, 35, who told a man on the Internet that she wanted to be sexually tortured, investigators said.

She was bound with rope and strangled while the two had sex, police said. Her nude body was found Oct. 25, buried near a trailer. Robert Glass, 45, a computer analyst for the Catawba County government, has been charged with her murder.

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