Man Escapes Before Child Sex Trial

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WILKES-BARRE -- A man accused of having sex with a teenager and taking her to Ohio last year was expected to appear in court for trial Monday. When the accused didn’t show up, police learned he escaped from house arrest.

Clyde Tonkin was taken before a magistrate last June. But in Luzerne County court, on day one of his trial, he was nowhere to be found. Police say around 9 a.m., they got an alert that Tonkin had removed an ankle monitor and escaped house arrest.

"The ankle monitor was placed on him by the bail bondsman, and they’re not really easy to get on. They take some serious work. But he knew he was supposed to be in trial today and he just wasn’t going to be here," said Exeter Police Sergeant Leonard Galli.

Tonkin, of Jenkins Township, is accused of having sex with a 14-year-old girl from Jenkins Township, who was reported missing last year. Officials later found Tonkin and the pregnant teenager in Ohio.

They were brought back to Pennsylvania, where the girl had their baby. Tonkin was charged with several child sex charges in June and locked up until posting bail this past Thursday.

"He was released with the conditions in the effect that he was placed on house arrest with the ankle monitor so we took every step necessary to secure his presence today in court," said Sgt. Galli.

Now the trial is happening without Tonkin in court while a manhunt continues throughout the region.

”We’ve been checking everything locally at this point, but he does have some family members that are out of the area, in the Ohio area, so we’ve been in contact with them. We’ll put a notice out, notification for some of the surrounding states," said Sgt. Galli.

Opening statements at Tonkin's trial are set to begin Tuesday whether he’s there or not. Tonkin now faces additional charges for his escape.