Woodstock man accused of trying to buy child online back to face charges

A Woodstock man accused of attempting to buy a 5-year-old online and then fleeing to Canada last year is now in custody at the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center, authorities said.

Patrick Molesti, a 58-year-old French national, faces charges of conspiracy to commit child molestation, 29 counts of sexual exploitation of a child, and four counts of theft by taking of a firearm. He has no bond.

Molesti was returned to Cherokee County by U.S. Marshals on Friday after more than a year in custody in Canada.

"We are pleased that Molesti has been extradited back to Cherokee County to stand trial for these charges. We appreciate the assistance of the Canadian authorities in capturing Molesti and the U.S. Marshals task force for transporting him back to Georgia," Sheriff Roger Garrison said in statement.

In March 2010, Cherokee investigators got a tip that Molesti was looking online for a 5-year-old boy to purchase, authorities told the AJC at the time. Deputies found child pornography on Molesti's computer and he left the country, a sheriff's office spokesman said.

Molesti was arrested on a bus in Thunder Bay, Ontario, on March 26, 2010 after investigators with the U.S. Marshals pinpointed his whereabouts and asked Canadian authorities for assistance.

Officials believe Molesti ultimately was trying to return to France.