By RYAN DUNN
OTTAWA — In a plea bargain, Gary L. Badertscher has admitted six felonious sex crimes involving minors.
The Gilboa man had been facing 67 charges.
Badertscher, 53, admitted to three counts of endangering children, each a second-degree felony; disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, a fourth-degree felony; pandering sexual matter involving a minor, a fourth-degree felony; and illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material, a fifth-degree felony.
Badertscher in 2012 and 2013 conversed online with young girls and encouraged them to send him illicit photographs, Putnam County Assistant Prosecutor Todd Schroeder said during a hearing Thursday in Putnam County Common Pleas Court.
Badertscher also possessed images of minor children engaged in sexual activity, Schroeder said.
Badertscher grimaced and looked downward as Schroeder broadly recounted the crimes. No one from the public attended Thursday’s brief court hearing.
Badertscher confirmed his actions when asked to by Judge Randall Basinger.
“You understand that if all of the sentences were ordered consecutively, it exposes you to a maximum term of 28 years in prison?” Judge Basinger asked.
“Yes, sir,” Badertscher said.
When he is released from prison, Badertscher will be required to register as a Tier II sex offender for at least 25 years.
The charges that prosecutors dismissed during plea negotiations included a first-degree felony count of compulsion to involuntary servitude, and dozens of fifth-degree felony child pornography charges.
All the alleged offenses occurred between 2012 and August 2013 in Putnam County, according to the indictments.
The prosecution agreed to make no recommendation about Badertscher’s sentence.
He will be sentenced after a pre-sentence investigation. The sentencing date has not yet been set.
Badertscher was indicted on 46 Putnam County charges in December. News of the indictment was reported in several area newspapers on Dec. 20 and Dec. 21.
On Dec. 21, while he was being held in jail, fire destroyed Badertscher’s house trailer. The state fire marshal ruled it was an arson.
In February, Badertscher was indicted on 21 more charges in Putnam County.
This week’s convictions are not Badertscher’s first sex offenses.
He was registered as a sexual offender in Florida after 2001 and 2006 convictions for lewd acts involving a child younger than 16 years old, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
In 2004, Badertscher pleaded guilty in Hancock County Common Pleas Court to charges that included importuning, disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, and attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. He registered as a sex offender and was sentenced to 26 months in prison, court records show.
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