Sex offender / carnival worker gets prison time for Huron County Fair incident

Cary Ashby • Dec 20, 2012 at 11:46 AM

The convicted sex offender and former carnival worker looked in disbelief at his defense attorney when he learned was going to prison for almost two years.

At Tuesday's hearing, Jason J. Conley, 32, of Fremont, was sentenced to 22 months in prison. He will serve two 11-month terms for one count each of attempted gross sexual imposition and attempted corruption of a juvenile with drugs.

Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway classified Conley as a Tier II sex offender. Once he's released from prison, he must register his address with the sheriff's office overseeing his residence every six months for 25 years. Conley, who won't be allowed to live within 1,000 feet of a school, preschool and daycare center, will be on five years of parole.

In mid-November, Conley was convicted of attempting to get a 16-year-old Huron County girl to touch his exposed penis after he gave the victim's friend some marijuana. The Aug. 14 incident happened during the Huron County Fair.

"The Huron County Fair is a nice fair," Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler said. "This shouldn't be happening at the Huron County Fair or any fair. I'm very concerned about this."

Defense attorney Ty Mahoffey said there was "some question" about the victim's credibility, but didn't elaborate. The girls and their families weren't in the courtroom Tuesday.

"Since his release (from jail), I believe he's been doing what he's supposed to be doing," Mahoffey said.

Conley spent 84 days in the Huron County Jail, which was credited to his prison term.

"He does take total responsibility for himself. ... He's trying to get better every day," Mahoffey said.

The judge had a different perspective and listed a long history of drug- and sex-related felonies that Conley committed. Citing the defendant's presentence interview, Conway said Conley denied his responsibility for what happened.

Huron County Sheriff's Detective John Harris and Sgt. Chuck Summers investigated the case.

Two local teenage girls approached Conley, who was a ride operator. Authorities said the girls wanted to know if they could buy some marijuana and Conley gave the girls his phone number and made arrangements to meet later at the ride.

"They were under the ride," Leffler said when Conley pleaded guilty. "He asked (one girl) if she was cool, if she was a snitch."

After Conley gave one girl some marijuana and she left, he attempted to grab the other victim and unsuccessfully tried to get her to touch his exposed penis, Leffler said.

"She was able to wiggle away from him. ... She used a ruse to get away," the prosecutor said.

The victim left the area under the ride after about three minutes. Capt. Ted Patrick has said when she did leave the ride, her friend saw she was "visibly upset."

The girl with the marijuana turned the drugs into the sheriff's office substation on the fairgrounds. Both girls reported the incident to Huron County Children Services, which notified the sheriff's office.

In mid-October 1998, Conley was sentenced to 17 months in prison for a gross sexual imposition conviction through Sandusky County Common Pleas Court. The case started out in juvenile court. A judge granted Conley early release from prison about March 1999 and placed him on five years of intense probation.

Conley, in mid-December 2009, was sentenced to a 45-day jail sentence for failing to register as a sex offender.

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