Police: 3 York County men charged for alleged contact with 13-year-old

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
Robert L. Jacobs Jr.

Three York County men are charged with felonies for their alleged by-phone and in-person contact with a 13-year-old Dover Township boy they met last month on social-networking apps.

Northern York County Regional Police said the boy put his profile on apps including Grindr and Squirt. Although the boy claimed to be 18, charging documents indicate he looked younger than that and had a "baby face."

Charged are Robert L. Jacobs Jr., 72, of South Lake Road in Jackson Township; Scott E. Altland Sr., 53, of the 7300 block of Lincoln Highway; and Franklin B. Merritt, of the 200 block of South Pine Street in York City, who turns 34 this week.

Each of the men separately had contact with the teen, police allege.

Jacobs is free on $100,000 bail, charged with the felonies of statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a person less than 16 and unlawful contact with a minor, plus the misdemeanors of indecent assault of a person less than 16, interfering with the custody of a minor and corruption of a minor, according to court records.

Altland is free on $50,000 bail, charged with the felony of unlawful contact with a minor and the misdemeanors of indecent assault of a person less than 16, interfering with the custody of a minor and corruption of a minor, records state.

Merritt is in York County Prison without bail, charged with the felonies of unlawful contact with a minor and disseminating sexually explicit material to a minor and the first-degree misdemeanor of corruption of a minor.

All three were arraigned on the charges by District Judge David Eshbach.

Eshbach is scheduled to preside over Merritt's bail-reduction hearing on Aug. 27, court records state. That's the same day Merritt is scheduled to have his preliminary hearing.

Mom alerted cops: Northern Regional Police began investigating after the boy's mother went through his phone and — concerned by what she found — turned it over to police on July 12, court documents state.

Franklin Baushard Merritt

A forensic analysis of the teen's phone determined he had been communicating with a number of men he met on dating and hookup sites.

Charging documents allege Jacobs electronically sent photos of his penis to the 13-year-old at the teen's request.

Jacobs and the boy met in person on July 8 and had sexual contact with each other, documents allege. Jacobs later told police that although the teen looked young, Jacobs didn't think he was 13, documents state.

Altland and the teen met up and had sexual contact in Altland's vehicle while it was parked in a grocery store lot in Dover Township on July 12, charging documents allege.

Altland told police he suspected the boy was 14 or 15 years old, and he told them, "When I seen him I said there aint no way he's 18," charging documents state.

'It was questionable': Merritt told police he wondered whether the boy was 18 as he said or whether he was lying, documents state.

"It was questionable. I will say that," Merritt said, according to charging documents.

Despite that, Merritt texted nude photos or videos of himself to the teen, and the teen texted Merritt sexually explicit photos, police allege.

All three men have separate preliminary hearings scheduled, according to court records.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.