July 24, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Clevelander pleads guilty to sex crimes

CLEVELAND — A Cleveland man faces up to 1,205 years in prison after pleading guilty Friday to molesting five boys — including one at a Medina County campground.

Darin Casper, 49, also pleaded guilty to 150 counts involving child pornography.

“Darin Casper’s vile, unforgivable acts destroyed the innocence of countless young children,” Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason said.

Mason said Casper created, downloaded and traded computer files containing child pornography between November 1998 and May of this year, when a search warrant was executed at his Baltic Road home on Cleveland’s west side, where his wife operated a day-care center.

Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force officers, who conducted the search, seized two desktop computers, five laptop computers, 417 CDs and other electronic devices, as well as 55 videotapes.

Mason said the examination of the items found about 1,500 child pornography images and videos including images and videos produced by Casper at his home.

Ohio authorities were tipped about Casper by law enforcement officials in Utah who were investigating a man suspected of trading child pornography. A search of his home turned up emails from Casper containing child pornography.

Casper was arrested on May 4 and indicted by a grand jury a week later on 150 charges, including 146 counts of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance, three counts of pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor, and one count of possessing criminal tools.

Mason said further investigation that identified children who were in the Casper house over the years resulted in a second indictment in August that included multiple counts of gross sexual imposition and kidnapping.

In pleading guilty to five counts of gross sexual imposition Friday, Casper acknowledged molesting four boys at his home and one at the Willow Lake Park campgrounds in Brunswick Hills Township.

Brunswick Hills Police Chief Sharon MacKay said her department did the Medina County part of the investigation and established that Casper had a trailer at the campground.

“We turned everything over to the Cuyahoga County prosecutor,” she said.

Casper is scheduled for sentencing Oct. 16 before Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Robert McClelland.

Contact David Knox at (330) 721-4065 or dknox@medina-gazette.com.