Professional bowler arrested during tournament, facing child pornography charges

A professional bowler from Ohio arrested earlier this month in the middle of a tournament in Indianapolis has been extradited back to his hometown to face child pornography charges.

Brandon Novak, 35, was transported Thursday from the Marion County jail in Indianapolis to the Ross County jail in Ohio, where he is being held on charges of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material and pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor, according to Ross County Sheriff's Office jail records.

According to an indictment filed on Jan. 26 in Ross County and unsealed upon Novak's return to Chillicothe, the 35-year-old is facing 15 felony counts. Five counts are for pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor and 10 counts are for illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material.

U.S. Marshals arrested Novak on Feb. 1 in the middle of a professional bowlers' tournament at Royal Pin Woodland in Indianapolis.

According to Ross County court records, Novak is not currently scheduled to be in court until March 21.

An investigation by Chillicothe police has led to child pornography charges against a professional bowler from that Ross County community.
An investigation by Chillicothe police has led to child pornography charges against a professional bowler from that Ross County community.

Child sex material connected to Novak's social media

Novak had been under investigation by the Chillicothe Police Department since February 2023, according to a report obtained by The Dispatch through an Ohio Public Records Act request. According to the report, a Chillicothe police detective first received a complaint on Feb. 17, 2023, from Facebook that was also submitted to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force regarding Novak's Facebook account being associated with child pornography.

Submitted with the complaint were multiple videos showing young males and one juvenile male having sex with an adult male, as well as a still photo of Novak. Through investigation, the detective matched the IP address from the photos and videos to a computer at Novak's home address in Chillicothe.

On Feb. 21, 2023, the detective applied for a search warrant for Novak's residence, which was obtained and executed the next day. The detective interviewed Novak about child pornography being associated with his Facebook account, the report states.

During the interview, the detective reported, Novak said he purchased pornography from someone on the social media app Snapchat, but initially said that he did not know the videos would contain child pornography.

According to the report, Novak told the detective that after he purchased the videos from Snapchat, he would send them to a spam Facebook account that was not in his name so that he would not have to save the videos on his phone. Later in the interview, the report states that Novak admitted to the detective that he knew he was purchasing child pornography and was taking steps to conceal it.

After the interview, the detective seized Novak's electronic devices, including his cellphone and an iPad. The detective later obtained a search warrant to access the devices and Novak's Facebook account. On April 5, 2023, the detective reviewed thousands of pages of Facebook records and found 20 images and videos containing some form of child pornography, including the videos that were part of the original complaint, the report states.

Who is Brandon Novak?

Novak began bowling in amateur competitions in 2009 and has competed professionally since 2012, winning some high-profile games and titles over his career, according to his profile on the Professional Bowlers Association website.

In his first year professionally, Novak won the 2012 PBA Central Region Rookie of the Year title. He has played in more than 75 PBA games, and has earned more than $93,000 in winnings from competitions and tournaments.

His arrest in Indianapolis in connection with the child porn charges is not Novak's first brush with the law.

In three separate incidents in July, September, and November 2022, Novak was charged with violating a temporary protective order filed against him by his ex-girlfriend, according to court records obtained by The Dispatch.

In all three incidents, Novak attempted to contact the ex-girlfriend via calls, texts, email and social media. In December 2022, he was sentenced to 56 days in jail, but that sentence was later reduced to 19 days, court filings indicate.

USA Today Network reporters Shelby Reeves and Bethany Bruner contributed to this story.

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Pro bowler arrested during tournament facing child pornography charges