Pittsburgh man pleads guilty to child sexual assault in Ocean County
The suspect accused of driving from Pennsylvania to have sex with an 11-year-old Ocean County girl he met through social media last May takes a guilty plea, and can expect to spend up to 20 years in prison.
Robert David Clayton, 36, of Pittsburgh, pleaded guilty to a first-degree charge of aggravated sexual assault, and accepted a stipulation of 15 years without parole eligibility, according to the office of Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato.
Clayton had faced additional counts of sexual assault, luring, and endangering the welfare of a child.
He was arrested May 5 for an incident that is believed to have taken place in a hotel in Ocean County four days earlier.
By May 3, investigators in the Lakewood and Toms River police departments and the Prosecutor's Office gathered information indicating a sexual assault.
The victim could not pinpoint the hotel, but described Clayton's appearance, his car and details about his social media accounts, authorities said. County Detective Thomas Tiernan canvassed hotels until he identified the place where the alleged attack occurred.
Investigators also recovered a cell phone that Clayton allegedly pawned, and tracked him to a Toms River Wawa on May 5.
Clayton has been incarcerated at the Ocean County Jail in Toms River since his arrest, in lieu of $375,000 bail.
Others involved in the investigation included County Major Crime Detective John Murphy, High Tech Crimes Detective John Dotto, Lakewood Police Detective Lynn Miller, Ocean County Sheriff's Sergeant David Deleeuw and Detective Matthew Scutti, and Toms River Police Sergeant Steven Austin.
The case was prosecuted by Ocean County Senior Assistant Prosecutor Christine Lento.