Sex offender late for hearing, arrested and held without bond

Cary Ashby • Mar 1, 2013 at 5:07 PM

A convicted sex offender who was almost two hours late for his sentencing hearing will be held without bond until his next court date.

Jose R. Ramirez, 29, of 27 N. Main St., Willard, had a sentencing hearing scheduled for 8:45 a.m. Wednesday in Huron County Common Pleas Court. The defendant, who was out on bond, walked into the main courtroom just before 10:30.

Judge Jim Conway already had issued a warrant for Ramirez's arrest.

"I don't have any idea (where he is)," defense attorney Tom Nicholson told the judge.

Since Nicholson, a Bucyrus attorney, had left the courthouse before his client arrived, court officials had Ramirez arrested on the failure to appear warrant. Huron County Sheriff's Lt. Chris Stanfield placed the former Plymouth resident in handcuffs in the courtroom.

In mid-January, Ramirez pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. The conviction is for a July 7 incident involving 14-year-old girl in Willard that police said appeared to be consensual.

While Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Richard Woodruff declined to speak specifically about the case, he explained the fourth-degree felony.

"It's a crime because of (the girl's) age," Woodruff said.

Even if a victim were 13, 14 or 15 years old and there was consent, he said the charge would be unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. Sexual conduct alleges there was sexual activity.

"If there's no consent, it would be a rape," Woodruff said.

The victim's parents reported to the Willard Police Department their daughter wasn't where she was supposed to be July 7, but "was with someone else," Chief Mark Holden said earlier.

Ramirez will be sentenced Tuesday. He faces one to five years in prison and will be classified as a sex offender.

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