September 27, 2019
Shelley Terry
Star Beacon


JEFFERSON — A pretrial date has been set for a local caterer facing multiple felony charges in regards to alleged sexual activity with underage girls on July 5-6 at his home and business.

Thomas L. Volpi, 62, owner of Albino’s Meats and Catering in Ashtabula, is scheduled to appear at 11 a.m. Oct. 28 before Ashtabula County Common Pleas Judge Thomas Harris.

Volpi posted his $200,000 cash or surety bond shortly after his Aug. 21 arraignment. Stipulations of the bond, set by Magistrate Dean F. Topalof, is that he can have no contact with the 15- and 17-year-old alleged 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 at the arraignment. “We must ensure the public’s safety.”

Since Volpi's arraignment, he has hired two new criminal defense attorneys out of Cleveland — Mark R. DeVan and William Livingston, according to court records.

Jefferson attorney Malcolm S. Douglas represented Volpi at the arraignment.

Volpi 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, according to the indictment.

He 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.”

Volpi's 22-year-old co-defendant, Tiara Babbitt, of Ashtabula, will appear before Harris at 3 p.m. Oct. 11 for her pretrial, according to court records.

Babbitt, who’s facing three counts of unlawful sexual conduct with the 15-year-old, also was arrested Aug. 14 by Ashtabula County sheriff’s deputies. She's out of jail on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond. As a stipulation to the bond, she's not allowed to have contact with the victim and check in with the probation department.

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 in June at Volpi’s residence and business.



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