MEDINA — A Brunswick man who admitted to having several sexual encounters with a 14-year-old girl was sentenced Thursday to 18 months in prison.
Jeremy A. Thomas, 23, of 4407 Laurel Road, Apt. 313, originally pleaded not guilty to one count of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a fourth-degree felony, but changed his plea to guilty on Sept. 11.
“This is an embarrassing situation,” Thomas said in court Thursday. “I let myself down, and I let my family down.”
County Assistant Prosecutor Matt Razavi said the sexual encounters were consensual, but that doesn’t mean they were legal.
This was not Thomas’ first time in court.
In August 2008, he was convicted of fourth-degree felonious assault and was sentenced to 60 days in jail. While on probation in December 2009, Thomas was charged with marijuana trafficking, a fifth-degree felony, and was sentenced in March 2010 to nine months in prison, according to court documents.
After his release, Thomas started a relationship with the 14-year-old girl, Razavi said.
Thomas had sex with the girl April 12, according to his June grand jury indictment, but Razavi said there were several encounters in several locations.
“This is a parent’s worst nightmare,” Razavi said, “that your young daughter would start a sexual relationship with a man just released from prison.”
After sentencing Thomas to 18 months in prison, Common Pleas Judge James L. Kimbler also labeled Thomas a Tier II sex offender, meaning he will have to register with the Sheriff’s Office every 180 days for 25 years upon release from prison.
Defense attorney Matthew Gaeckle told the court Thomas decided to change his plea to avoid having the 14-year-old girl testify in court. Gaeckle said Thomas knows his actions were bad decisions, and he regrets them.
Contact Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or firstname.lastname@example.org.