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Thursday, February 25th, 2021

Former Rockford mayor charged

Suspect arrested in FBI sting related to child pornography

By William Kincaid
TOLEDO - A 51-year-old former school board member and mayor charged with coercion and enticement and receipt and distribution of child pornography made his initial appearance on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court's Northern District of Ohio.
Jeffrey Armstrong, the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation, had served on Rockford's village council and as its mayor. In recent years he had sat on Parkway Local Schools Board of Education. He also represents Dublin Township on the Mercer County Republican Party's Central Committee, according to Mercer County Board of Elections personnel.
Armstrong on Tuesday appeared via videoconference before magistrate judge Thomas M. Parker, court records show. He reportedly waived a preliminary hearing. Federal public defenders were appointed to represent him. The government's oral motion for detention was granted.
A detention hearing by videoconference was set for 2:30 p.m. Friday. He was being held at Lucas County Corrections Center in Toledo as of Wednesday evening.
Armstrong, 4789 State Route 707, Rockford, in 2015 was elected to a four-year term on the Parkway Local Schools Board of Education, Mercer County Board of Elections confirmed. He is not currently on the board.
Parkway superintendent Jeanne Osterfeld issued a statement to the newspaper.
"The safety and security of children is at the core of Parkway's mission. Learning about allegations of wrongdoing like those involving Mr. Armstrong is incredibly upsetting and jarring," the statement read. "Before Tuesday, the District was unaware of any allegations of inappropriate conduct, of any nature, related to Mr. Armstrong. The District encourages anyone with any relevant information to come forward and assist the FBI in its investigation."
A search warrant was executed on Monday at Armstrong's Rockford residence. He was taken into federal custody without incident about 7 a.m. at his place of employment in Lima, according to an FBI news release.
Armstrong on Feb. 10 allegedly engaged in a conversation through an online message application with an individual he believed to be interested in sexual relations with minor females. The individual was actually an FBI online undercover employee.
Armstrong expressed that he shared the same interest, the release states. Over the next 10 days additional conversations reportedly took place between the FBI employee and Armstrong. Those conversations reportedly included the exchange of sexually explicit photos depicting underage females.
"The complaint alleges that Armstrong knows two underage females that he was hoping to engage in sexual activity with, a 5-year and a 6-year-old," the release states. "Armstrong informed the undercover employee that he has engaged in previous sexual activity with minor females."
Law enforcement officials encourage anyone who has a child who has interacted with Armstrong and feels the interactions could have been sexually inappropriate or were an attempt to groom the minor for future sexual interactions to call the FBI at 1-877-FBI-OHIO.
"Armstrong has lived in Rockford, Ohio for several years and has frequented kids sporting activities in Fort Wayne, Indiana," the release states.
The investigation is ongoing, the release stated.
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