American on Interpol’s wanted list found during routine check in France

He is accused of sexually assaulting a student at a Pennsylvania college in 2013

ian Thomas Cleary, 31, accused of sexual assault in US and arrested in France
Ian Thomas Cleary is accused of sexually assaulting a student at a Pennsylvania college in 2013

An American who is accused of sexually assaulting a student in the US in 2013 has been arrested in France after being found during a routine police check.

Ian Thomas Cleary, 31, was stopped in Metz (Moselle) on April 24 when police found that his name had been flagged by Interpol for an international arrest warrant.

Cleary, who was reported to be looking for accommodation in the Metz area, had been on Interpol’s wanted list for four years following an accusation of sexual assault dating to 2013.

US Marshals had suspected that he moved abroad, having not been charged with the crime until 2021.

Indeed, it was not until that year, when he reportedly messaged the woman on Facebook and appeared to confess that a warrant was issued for his arrest.

The woman, who was aged 18 at the time of the alleged assault, showed the Facebook messages appearing to come from Cleary to Pennsylvania police in 2021:

"So I raped you," read one of the string of messages

"I'll never do it to anyone ever again."

"I need to hear your voice."

"I'll pray for you."

Read also: Hunt for escaped French prisoner: Interpol issues ‘red notice’ alert

The procurer in Metz confirmed on May 14 that Cleary had been taken into custody pending extradition proceedings.

He reportedly told the French authorities that he had “arrived in France two or three years ago”, after staying in Albania.

The victim and her family, who have fought for justice in this case for a decade, have yet to comment on Cleary’s arrest.