KENNESAW — A Georgia National Guardsmen accused of using the Internet to make sexually suggestive remarks to children is out on bond today, as local police widen the scope of the investigation surrounding his arrest.
Scott Lombardi, 34, of Pair Road in Marietta, was released from custody late Tuesday afternoon on $20,000 bond. The 16-year military veteran was arrested Sunday on charges of child enticement and violating the state Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act for remarks he made to a 15-year-old Kennesaw boy while they were using the American Online Instant Messenger program.
The Cobb County Crimes Against Children Unit is conducting its own investigation into allegations that Lombardi also used a non-military sponsored youth group he started to lure a number of children to the Georgia National Guard Armory in Kennesaw for sexual purposes.
“As a result of information that’s been provided to us by the Kennesaw Police Department, we have begun an active investigation in this case,” said Dana Pierce, Cobb police spokesperson.
He said while it is too early to reveal an exact number of victims, the police are looking at youths involved in both the guard and Air Patrol organizations.
“We’re looking at multiple victims in this case,” he said.
The mother of the 15-year-old boy told the Marietta Daily Journal at least five other youths have been involved with Lombardi. The mother also said Lombardi molested her son, but that Kennesaw police didn’t have proper jurisdiction to file those charges.
In the meantime, officials from the Georgia National Guard said they are allowing Cobb officials to handle the investigation.
Lt Col Ken Baldowski, spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Defense, said Lombardi has to go through the civil legal system before the guard can take any action against him.
“Right now, it’s in the hands of the police,” he said. “They have to go through that system before we can do anything. The civil authority takes precedence over military action.”
Baldowski stressed that the organization founded by Lombardi, Forward Academy, was not endorsed by the Georgia National Guard. He said that the armory in Kennesaw, like other armories statewide, is often used for public meetings.
“We know nothing about it,” he said of the organization initiated by Lombardi. “It has no relation to the National Guard.”
The investigation into Lombardi began last Friday at the request of the Kennesaw boy’s parents, who regularly monitor their son’s Internet activity, said head investigator Detective Craig Chandler of the Kennesaw Police Department.
“They took the steps because of all the things the Internet brings into people’s homes,” he said.
According to police, Lombardi, using the screen name “ArmyOffi,” offered to get the youth drunk and discussed undressing and committing sexual acts with the boy over the computer. He met the boy through his involvement in the Civil Air Patrol, a volunteer organization of pilots and youths separate from the guard who look for downed aircraft and help in the search for lost children.
He said police made a record of Internet conversations between Lombardi and the boy in order to make the arrest on Sunday.
He said while the investigation into Lombardi, who has served six years with the Georgia National Guard, has not extended beyond Cobb County, it is not over yet.
“At this point, we don’t know of anything that’s happened outside of Cobb County,” Chandler said.