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Professional bowler facing child pornography charges after mid-game arrest at US Open

A professional bowler who was arrested by US marshals while he was competing in the US Open earlier this month has been extradited from Indiana back to Ohio to face charges related to child sexual abuse material.

Brandon Novak, 35, of Chillicothe, Ohio, was moved Thursday from the Marion County jail in Indianapolis to Ohio’s Ross County jail, where he’s being held on charges of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material and pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor, according to court records. The records did not show whether he has retained an attorney.

Novak was taken into custody on 1 February at the 2024 US Open bowling tournament in Indianapolis, but at the time authorities would only say he was wanted on a warrant that stemmed from a secret indictment.

When authorities placed Novak under arrest, he was in the seventh frame of his second game of the tournament. Video footage from The 11th Frame’s YouTube channel alleges to show the moment Novak was arrested. Novak is out of frame, but several other bowlers turn their heads toward his lane during the action.

Even after his arrest, Novak had a high enough score to finish 36th and won $1,500 in prize money.

Novak had been under investigation by Chillicothe police since February 2023, according to a report obtained by the Columbus Dispatch through an Ohio Public Records Act request. It stated a Chillicothe police detective had received a complaint from Facebook regarding Novak’s account being associated with child sexual abuse material.

Authorities soon executed a search warrant at Novak’s residence and interviewed him, according to the report. During the interview, Novak said he purchased pornography from someone on the social media app Snapchat, but initially said he didn’t know the videos would contain child sexual abuse material. He later admitted knowing he was buying child sexual abuse material and was taking steps to conceal it, authorities said.

Novak has been a professional bowler for more than a decade and has won two tournaments, according to his profile on the Professional Bowlers Association website.

The Ohio native has a pre-trial hearing scheduled for 21 March. He did not have any attorney listed in court records as of Friday.

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