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Friday, August 17, 2007

Mark Puente
Plain Dealer Reporter

North Royalton- William Blanchard and Vina Reed lived behind an overgrown wall of shrubs and a metal fence, isolated from their industrial neighbors on York Road.

But the couple emerged from seclusion June 22.

An acquaintance told police that lewd acts with children occurred in the plantation-style home.

Police say Blanchard, 46, and Reed, 32, recruited teenage girls on a MySpace Web page, where Blanchard listed himself as "inkee," with the promise of free tattoos or body piercings.

Then, the couple, who are not married, would make sexual advances toward the teenagers, police and prosecutors said.

"Come get a tattoo and have a little sex," Detective Dave Loeding said about the couple's offer.

A computer confiscated from the home in June contained photos of Blanchard's tattoo work and images of him and Reed engaged in sex with a 15-year-old girl, Loeding said.

The teen consented to the sex, he said, adding that he expects more teenage girls to come forward.

A grand jury indicted Blanchard and Reed this week. Each faces 52 charges, including unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, pandering sexually oriented matter and illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material.

Both were in the Cuyahoga County Jail on Thursday and could face more than 30 years in jail.

The acquaintance who told police about Blanchard and Reed claimed to have witnessed the sex acts and said the couple provided alcohol to underage girls numerous times in the home, a police report said.

Blanchard was eager to show off his tattoo work on the Web site, although he didn't have a license to tattoo. No sexual pictures were posted on the page, Loeding said.

The Web page was listed as private and could not be accessed Thursday.

Blanchard has a criminal record in New Jersey for selling drugs in 1986. He was released from an Ohio prison last October after serving 14 years for felonious assault.

The number of crimes against children using MySpace.com and other social-networking Web sites where users exchange private information is surging, Loeding said.

He said that law enforcement can do only so much to protect children and that parents need to be watchful.

"You have to know what your kids are doing," Loeding said. "This is an ugly case."

News researcher Cheryl Diamond contributed to this story.

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:

mpuente@plaind.com, 440-324-3773


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