WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A judge set former WPTV NewsChannel 5 weatherman Robert J. Lopicola's bond at $130,000 this morning after he was arrested Monday on charges of sexual activity with two underage boys he met through Craigslist.
Lopicola is not allowed to have access to the Internet, contact with minors or contact with his alleged victims. He was provided a public defender this morning because he said he doesn't have a job anymore.
Lopicola's first appearance was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but was delayed so he could obtain a laywer.
Lopicola, who was a weekend meteorologist at WPTV for nearly eight years, was arrested in Wilton Manors, just north of Fort Lauderdale, according to Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Teri Barbera.
He faces charges of sexual activity with minors, lewd and lascivious battery, computer pornography and child exploitation in alleged incidents that date back to 2010.
One of the incidents involved a 15-year-old boy who lived in Boca Raton, but he didn’t come forward with the allegations until he moved to Michigan.
According to the probable cause affidavit, the boy met Lopicola through a Craigslist personal ad. Authorities say the teen lied about his age and later told Lopicola he was 18.
When the teen confronted Lopicola about his age, he responded "14 to 16 years old is perfect baby,” according to the affidavit.
The affidavit also states that the teenager spoke with Lopicola about attending high school and told him what grade he was in.
According to authorities, after the teen and Lopicola corresponded on Craigslist, there were text messages and pictures exchanged between them. Deputies say the teenager later met with Lopicola in person and they engaged in sexual acts.
Lopicola’s other alleged victim was a 17-year-old West Palm Beach boy, according to the affidavit. The teen attended Palm Beach Lakes High School and said he answered Lopicola’s ad on Craigslist.
The teen told investigators the two met and engaged in sexual acts with Lopicola twice before the teen’s mother came home one day to find Lopicola hiding in the shower.
Palm Beach Sheriff’s County Office, West Palm Beach Police department, Farmington Hills Police department, the U.S. Marshals and the State Attorney’s Office were part of this ongoing investigation.
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