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Investigation of alleged molester appears stalled

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

The search for possible victims seems to be suspended.

Though federal and local investigators believe Douglas Yutaka Rhoades may have molested multiple little girls while impersonating an FBI agent, they also seem to think the case against him is closed.

At the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Spokesman Stephen Emmett said he thought the investigation had been abandoned because Rhoades suffered an aneurysm and wasn't competent to stand trial.

Emmett then refered the question about the investigation into possible additional victims to the federal prosecutors' office.

On the local level, where the investigation started, Clayton County Police Capt. Greg Dickens said the case file was turned over to the FBI almost as soon as it was started.

"We haven't had any further contact with that case," he said.

Clayton County court records show that no state charges have been filed against Rhoades, though some charges could be pending the outcome of the federal prosecution.

Rhoades was arrested in January by the Clayton County Police and the FBI and was charged in federal court with impersonating an FBI agent and possession of child pornography. According to the law enforcement allegations, Rhoades, a 42-year-old security guard who lives in Jonesboro, had been leading an elaborate double life, pretending to be an FBI agent who was investigating child pornography, cyber crimes, and rogue agents. His ex-wife reportedly believed he was an FBI agent, but contacted local police after she found a neighbor girl's clothes at his house and a Mother's Day Card apparently sent to the 11-year-old, calling her "the mother of my child."

During the investigation, FBI agents allegedly found a large collection of child pornography, in Rhoades' mini van, and a home video showing him exchanging wedding vows, a ring and an 18-second kiss with a 10-year-old girl in a Jonesboro basement.

Rhoades was charged, in January, with the federal crimes of impersonating a federal agent and possessing child pornography. At the time, investigators and prosecutors released Rhoades' photo -- something they don't normally do -- and said they were concerned there were more victims, and they were looking for girls who may have been molested by Rhoades.

That day, Rhoades was apparently injured in prison. He was not at a bond hearing the next morning, and when he did return to court, five days later, he had a swollen, black eye.

No one would officially comment on the injury at the time. Prison officials said it was against policy to say anything, hospital officials refused to confirm or deny that Rhoades or any area prisoner had been treated. And Rhoades' attorney declined to comment. Prosecutors would not say if he had been attacked in prison, had injured himself to ensure special treatment, or if he had had a medical problem that caused him to fall down and injure his face.

On Monday, the FBI spokesman said he thought a medical emergency had closed the case. Investigators at the county police department had heard Rhoades had a seizure and prosecution had stopped.

The case against Rhoades is clearly moving forward, however. In the last two months, the court ruled on motions about the admissibility of evidence, and motions about the admissibility of statements.

The most recent entry into Rhoades' file, in federal court, was on Monday.

Nothing in the court records indicates the case has been dismissed or that Rhoades' attorney, Jeff Ertel, is moving to have Rhoades ruled unable to stand trial.

Ertel did not respond to an e-mail or a phone message seeking comment.

Asked if the search for possible victims had been stopped or suspended, Patrick Crosby, spokesman for the federal prosecutors, said, "We are saying, 'The investigation continues.' It's still an active investigation."

It was not clear, though, who was doing the investigating.