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Joseph Thomas charged in sexual assault of girl, 14, in Reading

Suspect contacted girl online, lured her to location, detectives say

READING, Pa. - A 5-month investigation has led to the arrest of a Reading man on charges he sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl.

Detectives with the Berks County district attorney's office apprehended Joseph John Thomas in the 200 block of Clymer Street in Reading on Thursday.

Thomas, 24, of Buttonwood Street in the city, first contacted the girl on a social media website in October and lured her to an undisclosed location, where he picked her up in his vehicle and drove her to his home, which was then located in Exeter Township, officials said.

Thomas then engaged in sexual acts with the girl in what officials said would be the first of five separate assaults to take place over the next several weeks.

The girl later disclosed details of the assaults in a forensic interview with detectives and representatives of the Children's Alliance Center, officials said.

Thomas was subsequently charged with statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, luring a child into a motor vehicle,
corruption of minors, indecent exposure and unlawful contact with a minor. He was committed to the Berks County Jail on $500,000 bail.

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