A Bozeman man accused of soliciting young boys for sex is facing a felony charge of sexual abuse of children.

Robert John Parelius, 56, was arrested Thursday. He appeared in Gallatin County Justice Court on Friday, where Judge Rick West ordered him held in jail on $50,000 bail.

According to charging documents:

In April, the Chicago Police Department contacted the Bozeman Police Department, asking for help looking for someone who had been sexually soliciting two boys, ages 13 and 15, over the phone. Phone records indicated Parelius was the one making the calls.

Parelius, who moved to Bozeman from Chicago in the last year, confessed to investigators to repeatedly calling the families in Chicago and leaving lewd and profane messages, soliciting the young boys for sex. He admitted to contacting the families of at least three young boys during the past couple years.

Parelius denied ever actually meeting the boys but said he was doing this as a “sick hobby.” He had seen the boys playing football in parks and researched them, he said.

In a search of his home, investigators found nude pictures of young boys and girls, as well as rosters for junior football teams from the Bozeman, Belgrade and Chicago areas.

Gallatin County Deputy Attorney Erin Murphy requested the $50,000 bail, saying allegations against Parelius are serious and that he is a threat to the community.

Murphy added that additional charges against Parelius were likely to be filed in Chicago on Friday.

Defense attorney Peter Ohman said that Parelius has a clean criminal history and is employed in Bozeman. He requested bail be set at $5,000.

If convicted, Parelius faces a maximum sentence of 100 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Whitney Bermes can be reached at wbermes@dailychronicle.com or 582-2648.

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