Southeast Ohio man, accused of child sex charges in Florida, now in area jail

A Belmont County, Ohio, man accused of child sex charges in Florida is now in the Tri-County Regional Jail in Mechanicsburg on a child-related charge.

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Larry Lawson, 35, of Bridgeport, was released on a surety bond June 21 after his arrest in Clearwater, Florida, on charges accusing him of traveling from Pennsylvania to Florida with a 16-year-old he picked up in mid-June, WOWK-TV has reported.

According to the West Virginia station’s reporting, Lawson and the teen were arrested in a Florida hotel. The teenager told authorities the two met through social media at least two years ago. The teenager told detectives he and Lawson engaged in sexual activity at the hotel and at least three times during the road trip to Florida.

Lawson reportedly told detectives the teenager was his cousin, then said he was a friend and a travel companion.

The teenager’s mother contacted police in Clearwater after seeing a video posted to social media of her child at a hotel on Clearwater Beach.

WOWK-TV’s sister station, WTRF in West Virginia, said Lawson was CEO of Children Solutions, where police said he had access to children and teenagers. An official with the organization has said Lawson no longer works there.

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Lawson is charged in Pinellas County, Florida, with unlawful sexual activity with a minor and interference with custody (both felonies), as well as sheltering an unmarried minor and contributing to the delinquency or dependency of a minor (both misdemeanors).

Wednesday morning, Lawson was taken into custody by an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper after a traffic stop on I-70 in Madison County. The apprehension led to Lawson being booked into the regional jail on a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the unruliness of a minor or delinquency of a minor.

We’re working to find out what led to the traffic stop. We will update this developing report as we learn more.

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