ST. CLAIRSVILLE -- Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Belmont County Sheriff David Lucas announced Wednesday that a man already facing child pornography charges in Columbiana County is now facing charges of rape and gross sexual imposition in Belmont County.
Alex Davtovich, 27, is charged in Belmont County with two counts of rape and one count of gross sexual imposition in connection with the assault of two children, including a four-year-old. The crimes happened while Davtovich, who previously resided in Bellaire, was babysitting the children of an acquaintance between October 2012 and March 2013.
"We are urging anyone whose children may have had contact with this defendant to talk with their children, because we do have reason to believe that other children may have been sexually assaulted by this suspect," said Attorney General DeWine.
Detectives with the Belmont County Sheriff's Office began investigating Davtovich, who currently lives in Columbiana County's St. Clair Township, after an investigation by the Attorney General's Crimes Against Children Unit and St. Clair Township Police Department found Davtovich in possession of alleged child pornography. The suspect was charged with pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor after authorities served a search warrant at his home last month.
Upon further investigation, agents learned of the alleged sexual assaults in Belmont County and turned over the information to local authorities. Belmont County detectives, working with case workers from the Belmont County Department of Children's Services, were able to identify and locate the juveniles.
"This is another proven case of how good working relationships at the state and local level can bring justice in several jurisdictions," said Sheriff Lucas.
"We are grateful for the work of the Crimes Against Children Unit to uncover the fact that this individual was living in our community so that we were able to arrest him and remove him from the streets," said St. Clair Township Police Chief Donald Hyatt.
Davtovich is currently in custody at the Columbiana County Jail. He was also known to spend time in Hancock County, West Virginia.
Anyone with information regarding Alex Davtovich should contact the their local law enforcement agency or the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation at 855-BCI-OHIO (855-224-6446). The FBI also assisted with the investigation.
Attorney General DeWine formed the Crimes Against Children Unit, which is part of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, in an effort to focus on investigating perpetrators who victimize children. Since 2012, agents with the Attorney General's Crimes Against Children Unit have opened more than 230 investigations in counties across the state.