Romeo and Juliet?: Sex offender gets 90 days, told to stay away from victim, 14
Mar 6, 2013 at 11:59 PM
The attorney for a convicted sex offender equated the consensual relationship with the victim with something worthy of William Shakespeare.
"There is no greater tale of woe than of Juliet and her Romeo," defense attorney Tom Nicholson said.
Nicholson used the quote Tuesday at the sentencing hearing for Jose R. Ramirez, 19, of 27 N. Main St., Willard.
In mid-January, Ramirez pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. The conviction is for a consensual July 7 incident involving a 14-year-old girl.
"If she were a few months older, it would have been a misdemeanor type of situation," Nicholson said.
The Willard Police Department investigated the case. Police have said the victim's parents reported their daughter wasn't where she was supposed to be, but "was with someone else."
It's unclear how the girl and Ramirez became acquainted.
The girl, in a letter to the court, declared her love for Ramirez.
"He's the finest man I know," said Nicholson, while quoting the girl.
Ramirez has been taking GED classes. He recently started a seasonal job in Mansfield and plans to work a local farming job in the spring.
"I've been staying off drugs," said Ramirez, who apologized for committing the sex crime. "My family is in Texas. The only communication I have with them is through (the) phone."
Classified as a Tier II sex offender, Ramirez must register his address every six months for the next 25 years.
Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway sentenced him to 90 days in the Huron County Jail on the work release program. That means he was released from custody Tuesday and will receive a reporting date from the jail.
Ramirez must pay a $250 fine and undergo drug and substance abuse counseling as part of his three years of probation. No restitution was requested.
Last week, the defendant walked into the main courtroom nearly two hours late for his original sentencing hearing. Since Conway already had issued a warrant for Ramirez's arrest and Nicholson no longer was in the courthouse, a deputy arrested Ramirez and took him to jail.
Nicholson said his client never called anybody about being late.
If Ramirez violates his probation -- which includes obtaining his GED and not having any contact with the victim, he faces 18 months in prison.