Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and George Venizelos, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), today announced the arrests of Richard Meltz, chief of police for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for the Bedford, Massachusetts Veteran Affairs Medical Center, and Robert Christopher Asch, a former high school librarian, for conspiracy to kidnap, torture, rape, and kill women and children. Meltz was arrested yesterday afternoon, and Asch was arrested this morning by special agents of the FBI. Meltz and Asch will be presented today before U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. Francis, IV in Manhattan federal court.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, "The bone-chilling conduct alleged in this complaint is a chronicle of sadism and depravity that includes the defendants' very real steps to carry out their plans to kidnap, torture, rape, and kill the women and children they targeted. Asalleged, Richard Meltz and Robert Christopher Asch assiduously planned their plot in detailed conversations and alternately served as advisers and facilitators of the plan—Meltz provided 'strategic advice,' and Asch conducted surveillance and provided supplies including leather ties, a sleeping agent, instruments of torture, and a Taser gun. The only thing that stood between these alleged kidnappers and their horrifying plot was the outstanding investigative teamwork of the FBI and the prosecutors in this office."