Sex offender sentenced to 4 months in jail

Cary Ashby • Jun 12, 2014 at 9:07 PM

A convicted sex offender will have to register his address every six months for the next 25 years.

Lawrence E. Hickman, 19, of 3764 U.S. 224, Lot 26, Greenwich, isn't allowed to live within 1,000 feet of a preschool, daycare center or school once he finishes a 120-day sentence at the Huron County Jail. He was fined $500 Wednesday as part of his three years of probation.

"I'm sorry for the situation I got myself into," Hickman told Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway.

"I understand what I did was wrong. ... I don't plan on getting into trouble again," the defendant added.

In early May, Hickman pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. His conviction is for having sex with a 14-year-old girl he brought to his residence after a Dec. 21 party. As part of a plea deal, prosecutors dismissed one count of tampering with evidence.

Hickman was arrested Dec. 21 at a Milan factory, where he worked at the time. He told the judge he lost his job, vehicle and friends as a result of the sex crime. Conway ruled Hickman, who served 11 days in jail, could serve the remainder of his four-month jail term on the work release program if his family finds a job for him.

Also arrested Dec. 21 was Hickman's now ex-girlfriend, a 17-year-old Greenwich girl. Hickman isn't allowed to have any contact with the victim or his co-defendant during probation.

The girl was charged with complicity to unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, complicity to tampering with evidence, obstructing official business and underage consumption.

As part of her probation through Huron County Juvenile Court, the girl must complete 50 hours of volunteer service and serve three days in detention. The defendant is prohibited from having any association with anyone under the age of 18 without adult supervision and can't access social media. Court administrator Chris Mushett has said the girl can't access the Internet without adult supervision, isn't allowed to view pornography, is prohibited from consuming alcohol and must undergo and successfully complete treatment and counseling for sex offenders, mental health and substance abuse.

The Huron County Sheriff's Office started its investigation after the Ashland County Sheriff's Office received a 9-1-1 call at 3:30 a.m. Dec. 21 from a female Huron County resident. Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Dina Shenker said the victim and Hickman's accomplice suffered significant psychological harm.

"There was a lot of stupidity going on. The defendant was the only adult present and took advantage of the underage girls," Shenker added. "(The victim) had to go through counseling."

Local deputies, while using search warrants, said they found "signs of underage drinking and drug abuse" and recovered "a significant amount of disturbing evidence at the scene" that linked Hickman to the sex crime. Agents with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation processed the scene.

Defense attorney John Allton said Hickman's family has been supportive of him throughout the case, although they were surprised Hickman "spun out of control" after he graduated from high school.

"He has not blamed anyone else. He has taken responsibility for his own misconduct," Allton also told the judge.

Hickman will be supervised at a high level during probation. Conway said he typically would sentence similar defendants to prison, but told Hickman he was giving him a chance on community control sanctions since the circumstances aren't likely to re-occur and the defendant has a brief criminal record as an adult. If he violates his probation, he faces 18 months in prison.

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