ByMarch 23, 2020 10:22 pm
BUCYRUS — A high school student appeared for arraignment in Crawford County Common Pleas Court on Monday.
Christian Edwards, 18, of Crestline pleaded not guilty to one count of pandering obscenity involving a minor, a second-degree felony punishable with up to eight years in prison, and two counts of pandering obscenity involving a minor, both fourth-degree felonies and each punishable with up to 18 months in prison.
According to allegations, Edwards posted sexually explicit photos of his then 17-year-old girlfriend on social media in retaliation for a breakup. It is also alleged that he began an online relationship with a then 16-year-old girl and exchanged sexually explicit pictures on social media as well.
Common Pleas Court Judge Sean Leuthold put several observations about the allegations on the record before setting bond.
“I don’t believe the defendant is a pedophile. He was 18, his girlfriend was 17. The other girl he met online was 16,” Leuthold said. “Under normal circumstances, this would have been at most a case of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. However, when photos are exchanged, this jumps the case up to a second-degree felony. The defendant is now facing up to eight years in prison.”
Leuthold told the court that while this law was designed to punish pedophiles, if one person is an adult, no matter whether consensual or not, the law also applies to them.
“The pictures change everything and make it pornographic. This is most likely a case of teens exchanging pictures,” Leuthold said. “If the defendant did what is alleged for revenge over a breakup it is despicable.”
Leuthold said he wanted to put the allegations on the record and note that the juvenile was only one year younger than the defendant.
Leuthold set Edwards’ bond at $50,000 and appointed attorney Grant Garverick to represent him.
In other court action, Brooke Morgan, 31, of Upper Sandusky was arraigned on one count of aggravated possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony punishable with up to one year in jail. Leuthold entered a not guilty plea on behalf of Morgan and appointed attorney Andrew Motter to represent her. Leuthold gave Morgan a personal recognizance bond.
Robert Jones, 28, of Bucyrus pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of drugs, each fifth-degree felonies and each punishable with up to one year in prison.
In a plea agreement, Leuthold sentenced Jones to five years of community control. Jones will forfeit all drug-related property to the Galion Police Department and was ordered to complete drug and alcohol assessment and all follow-up treatment.
“You violate this, and you will do two years in prison,” Leuthold said.
Brandan Stidam, 31, of Shelby pleaded guilty to violating the terms and conditions of his community control. Stidam pleaded guilty in September to domestic violence, a third-degree felony. He was sentenced to the maximum sentence of three years in prison but was granted judicial release in November.
Stidam was in possession of drug abuse instruments (a syringe) in Shelby and was found guilty of drug paraphernalia charges. He also tested positive for meth and methamphetamines.
Leuthold released Stidam on a personal recognizance bond and will set his sentencing hearing in 30 days.
“You’re getting this chance to prove yourself. It’s partially because of the situation we are facing with the coronavirus,” Leuthold said. “This is your chance. Stay clean.”
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