April 19, 2014

Partly cloudy

Judge reviews precedent in child pornography case

MEDINA — A judge delayed the sentencing of a Wadsworth man accused of sharing child pornography to check whether the court has ever granted probation instead of prison in a similar case.

Stephen M. Petrush, 45, of 149 Wolf Avenue, is charged with 10 counts of pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor, second-degree felonies punishable by up to eight years in prison each.

Petrush’s attorney, Bob Campbell, asked Medina County Common Pleas Judge James L. Kimbler to place Petrush on probation.

Second-degree felonies hold a “presumption of prison,” meaning the judge must consider prison more likely than probation.

Campbell said probation is appropriate because Petrush downloaded the materials but did not produce them.

Assistant Prosecutor Matt Razavi recommended Petrush be sentenced to three years.

He said the videos depicted children age 8 and younger being raped by adults. Each of the 10 charges referred to a different file. Razavi said there were more that went uncharged.

“These are very serious crimes,” Razavi said.

Kimbler said he would revisit the case Dec. 19 and advised court investigators to look into other child pornography cases.

Kimbler said when Petrush is sentenced, he also will be labeled a Tier II sex offender and will have to register with the sheriff’s office every six months for 25 years.

Petrush was arrested in April following an investigation by the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.