Rodney Burnside, 22, of Huntsville, was charged with two counts unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, both fourth-degree felonies.
Burnside met a 13-year-old Geauga County girl at Colossalcon at Kalahari Resorts in 2012. The pair kept in contact throughout following year, texting and talking and setting up plans for the 2013 convention, Erie County Sheriff’s Detective Dennis Papineau said.
Part of those plans, Papineau said, was to have sex.
“He was basically communicating with the girl, saying she’s pretty and grooming her for this” Papineau said.
At last summer’s Colossalcon, Burnside and the now-14-year-old reconnected. The girl’s mother drove her and her 14-year-old friend to Kalahari for the convention, letting the girls explore while she stayed in an area designated for parents, Papineau said.
It was during that window the girl and her friend finally met up with Burnside. He allegedly drove them to a Milan Road hotel — saying he needed to change out of his costume there — and took both girls inside, Papineau said.
The friend waited inside the room as Burnside and the girl allegedly had sex. But when they finished, the friend, who was turning 15 later that week, expressed her interest in joining as well. Burnside then allegedly had sex with the friend, while the girl remained inside the room, Papineau said.
“Happy birthday sex — you’re 15” Burnside allegedly told her after they finished, according to deputies.
The trio returned to Kalahari and nothing more came of the rendezvous until one girl’s father uncovered text messages on her phone, Papineau said.
The discovery prompted him to reach out to deputies. When investigators interviewed the girls, both admitted to the encounter. Burnside also admitted to having sex with the girls, and deputies are certain he knew both were underage, Papineau said.
An Erie County grand jury indicted Burnside on his charges earlier this month. He was arrested Tuesday and is being held at the Erie County jail on $20,000 bond.