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Did Suspected Child Abuser Leave Victims in Lakewood?

A Newton 56-year-old arrested in July for kiddie porn later admitted luring a 15-year-old to Pennsylvania for sex and having erotic fantasies about child cannibalism, say federal investigators. Now they want to know if Robert Mucha’s alleged victims include any children in Lakewood, where he spent time as a drum and bugle corps instructor several years ago.

Robert Mucha (courtesy U.S. Immigrations & Customs Enforcement)

Mucha is one of more than 60 suspects in a global child-exploitation probe that began in Boston in 2010. Homeland Security investigators with federal Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement lead the investigation they call Operation Holitna.

“Child exploitation crimes victimize the most vulnerable members of our society,” says Andrew McLees special agent in charge of HSI Newark. “The victimization of children for sexual purposes is one of the most heinous crimes imaginable, which is why HSI will continue to be relentless in pursuing child predators.”

Investigators say Mucha coached a drum and bugle outfit known as The Phoenix in 1992. The band is listed as having gone inactive in 1995. He’s also believed to have been involved with the Belleville-based Soundsation unit from 1981 to 1986. Mucha is also believed to have served as a volunteer EMT in Andover.

They cite court documents describing Yahoo Messenger chats between Mucha and Michael D. Arnett, who was apprehended in May on a charge of producing child pornography in Kansas. The two allegedly went on at length about kidnapping, sexually attacking and even eating children.

“A lot of this does come back to parental involvement,” says McLees, “making sure your kids are not potentially engaged in one of these online relationships which can lead to something like this.”

Mucha, say investigators, admitted touching “hundreds” of children for his own gratification. Their probe of the web chats led to subsequent arrests of suspects in Florida, Kansas, New Mexico, California and Massachusetts, among other spots in the U.S.

The roots of the probe began with the Boston arrest in 2010 of Robert Diduca, who was sentenced for kiddie porn production earlier this year. A scan of his PC led to the arrest of a Dutch national in the Netherlands on charges of child pornography production and distribution and the sexual assault of 87 children.

Anyone who suspects interaction with Mucha is being urged to call HSI’s confidential tip line, 1-866-DHS-2-ICE (1-866-347-2423). They also supply a digital tip form at http://www.ice.gov/exec/forms/hsi-tips/tips.asp.

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