Ohio investigates adoption agency amid rape case

Date: 2012-03-03

3/3/2012 9:56:00 AM
Ohio investigates adoption agency amid rape case

CINCINNATI (AP) - Officials said Friday that they're investigating a private adoption agency that helped place children with a man now accused of raping three boys in his care and prostituting one of them.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said it has opened an investigation into ACTION Inc. The investigation follows the arrest last week of a 39-year-old Troy man, Kenneth Brandt, charged with three counts of rape and one count of compelling prostitution in Miami County. He also faces child rape charges in Montgomery County.
If Ohio officials find serious procedure violations, they could take actions including revoking the private agency's license. Messages for comment left at ACTION's office in Dayton weren't immediately returned.

Ohio and Texas family services officials have been sharing details of the children's adoption from Texas. Texas authorities say the Troy man adopted three children - one of them a 9-year-old girl in 2011 - and was in the process of adopting the fourth.

Troy police said the man regularly raped the three boys at his home. He's also accused of hiring out a 10-year-old boy for sex with other men.

Texas authorities didn't release any other details on the children but said the adoption was handled through ACTION Inc. A Texas spokesman said Thursday that it appeared that proper procedures had been followed, including background checks on the adoptive father. Troy police say they don't know of any past criminal activity by him.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said the man was first certified as a foster parent in Miami County in 2005. ACTION has been certified by the state for more than a decade.

Department spokesman Ben Johnson said there had been three complaints involving the private agency in that time. He said in each of those cases, ACTION was asked to submit a corrective plan. He didn't immediately release any other information, including whether the investigation would look into other adoptions.

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services spokesman Patrick Crimmins said Texas has worked with ACTION since 2004 without problems.

Meanwhile, the FBI said forensics experts will study laptop computers, files, a video camera and other items seized from the adoptive father's home.

FBI Supervisory Special Agent Tim Ferguson of the Dayton office said the analysis will help them learn whether there are more suspects or victims in the case. The FBI's computer forensics lab also will provide evidence to help local police and prosecutors develop their cases, he said.

Brandt remained jailed Friday in Miami County on $800,000 bond. The public defender's office didn't return messages for comment.

Two other men, 29-year-old Jason Zwick of Beavercreek and 31-year-old Patrick Rieder of Dayton, have been jailed on related rape charges, based on the prostitution allegation. Zwick's lawyer hasn't returned a message for comment; an attorney will be appointed for Rieder.

Federal authorities could also develop charges such as sexual exploitation in the case, but Ferguson said that will take some time. Federal, state and local authorities met this week to coordinate their investigations.


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