Facial Recognition Software Led To The Arrest Of A Scranton Man For Alleged Sexual Assault Of Teen
An updated driver’s licence photo and a facial recognition program led the arrest of a Scranton man accused of sexually assaulting a minor in York County in 2016, police said.
Robert Alexander Kusma, 33, 1411 E. Gibson St., Scranton, was charged Monday with sexual assault of a minor under 16 by the York Area Regional Police Department.
The charges stem from a relationship Kusma built up with a 15-year-old female from Jacobus through an online chat website, Omegle, and the mobile instant messaging app, Kik, where the two traded nude photographs of themselves.
The Times-Tribune does not identify victims of sexual assault.
Kusma told the victim that he would punish, torture and sexually assault her and sent sexually graphic photos and stories, police said in an arrest affidavit.
During their Kik conversations, Kusma also sent the victim a picture of himself and told her he worked in the medical field in an emergency capacity, police said. He also told her that he would come see her at home and sent a picture of items he would be bringing, police said.
On July 12, 2016 — a week after the two began communicating — Kusma convinced the girl to give him her address, police said.
He arrived at her house in York County at approximately 2:45 p.m., informing her that he had parked down the street. Scared, and with her parents not at home, the victim contacted a male friend and informed him of the situation. Kusma let himself into her home and found the victim on her bed, where he began groping her, according to the affidavit.
The victim’s friend showed up and told the man to leave, which he did, police said.
Police responded, but were unable to positively ID the man.
Kusma left behind a pair of sunglasses, which were processed for DNA and fingerprint evidence. The victim’s cell phone, which contained their conversations and the photograph of Kusma, were also given to investigators, the report said.
Investigators sent photos of Kusma to multiple police agencies in Pennsylvania and Maryland, but facial recognition programs didn’t make a match. The photograph was scanned periodically afterward, and, on Dec. 10, the software found a hit on Kusma, who had updated his driver’s license photo three months earlier.
His previous license photo captured his face while he wasn’t looking at the camera, which hindered facial recognition, the report said.
Affording to police, the investigation revealed that Kusma works as an ER technician at Commonwealth Regional Hospital, corroborating what Kusma had told the victim earlier. Commonwealth spokeswoman Renita Fennick declined to comment on current or former employees.
Law enforcement got a search warrant for Kusma’s home, where investigators located evidence as described by the victim, the report said.
In a taped interview with police, Kusma admitted to the assault.
Kusma is held at York County Prison and was unable to post bail.
A preliminary hearing is set for 8:15 a.m. on Dec. 28 with Magisterial District Judge Lindy Lane Sweeney in New Freedom.
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