JEFFERSON — Thomas L. Volpi, owner of Albino’s Meats and Catering in Ashtabula, is facing multiple felony charges in regards to alleged sexual activity with underage girls on July 5-6 at his home and business.
Tuesday morning, he and his 22-year-old co-defendant, Tiara Babbitt, of Ashtabula, were arraigned before Magistrate Dean F. Topalof in Ashtabula County Common Pleas Court.
After some discussion, Topalof set Volpi’s bail at $200,000 cash or surety with the stipulation of having no contact with the victims or any other juveniles, submit to a HIV test and wear a GPS tracking device.
“We have two victims and 39 counts, 12 of which are first-degree felonies,” Topalof said. “We must ensure the public’s safety.”
By 6 p.m. Tuesday, Volpi had posted bond, but had not been released from jail, according to a jail official, who said they were waiting on a GPS device to attach to him before he could leave.
Ashtabula County Prosecutor Nicholas A. Iarocci had asked Topalof to set Volpi’s bail at $100,000 cash or surety on the condition Volpi have no contact with the victims or any other juveniles and submit to a HIV test.
Volpi’s attorney, Malcolm S. Douglas, of Jefferson, also asked for $100,000 cash or surety, but with the addition of 10 percent. He argued Volpi is not a flight risk — his residence, family and business are all in Ashtabula and he has no prior criminal record, he said.
Iarocci wasn’t swayed.
“These are very serious allegations ... sex between a 62-year-old and a child,” he said.
Volpi, 62, was arrested Aug. 14 after a grand jury issued a 39-count indictment against him, charging he furnished alcohol, raped and sexually assaulted two teenage girls, ages 15 and 17, according to the indictment.
Babbitt, who’s facing three counts of unlawful sexual conduct with the 15-year-old, also was arrested later that same afternoon by Ashtabula County sheriff’s deputies. Topalof set a $10,000 personal recognizance bond for her, stipulating she’s to have no contact with the victim and check in with the probation department.
Iarocci did not object, citing Babbitt has no prior criminal history; “maybe some drug abuse.”
Topalof appointed attorney Marie Lane to represent her.
Volpi and Babbitt’s cases were assigned to Ashtabula County Common Pleas Judge Thomas Harris.
Volpi is charged with 12 counts of rape, each a first-degree felony; 11 counts of sexual battery, each a third-degree felony; five counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, each a third-degree felony; nine counts of gross sexual imposition, each a fourth-degree felony, and two counts of furnishing alcohol to underage persons, each a first-degree misdemeanor, according to court records.
According to the indictment, Volpi “engaged in at least 14 different acts of sexual assault involving a 15-year-old girl and two acts of sexual assault involving a 17-year-old girl.”
The Ashtabula Police Department and Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) investigated the case. As part of the investigation, several search warrants were obtained and executed last month at Volpi’s residence and business.