CADIZ – Ronald Maxwell, the 71 year old from Cadiz pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts, the bigger one was Gross Sexual Imposition, a felony of the third degree. Represented by Public Defender, C. Adrian Pincola, Maxwell had to be read the circumstances of his plea agreement twice because of his diminished hearing but finally satisfied Judge, T. Shawn Hervey that he knew what he was agreeing while waiving his right to a trial.
Back in early November Maxwell was arrested for fondling a three-old boy while on Community Based Control (CBC) sanctions. Those sanctions were the result of a convicted aggravated assault charge also back in 2016. Hervey sentenced Maxwell to four years in prison and 11 months for the CBC violations, which were to run concurrently.
Bruzzese explained to the court that the victim’s family, though informed that a plea was likely on this day chose not to be present or prepare a Victim’s Impact Statement. Bruzzese then proceeded to address the court with the state’s recommended sentence, which was four years.
“We feel and I think the court would agree that four years for this type of crime is a fair sentence given what the state of Ohio and the legislature gives us to work with,” Bruzzese explained. “I certainly would like to see people that assault kids in this manner go to prison for much longer but under the circumstances, is what the law is providing us to work with here today…”
The maximum sentence Maxwell was facing was five years but Hervey stated that because of the maximum he had a right to appeal and Hervey stated he did not want to give him that chance. He was also given five years of supervised probation upon his release.
When Hervey reached the section dealing with the crime being “more serious” when comparing it to other “similar crimes by similar offenders” he stated his reasons as such: The age of the victim, the psychological harm the offense could bring on the victim, his relationship or familiarity with the victim, which led to the crime and it being of “a sexual nature.” He stated that also according to a section in the Ohio Revised Code that nothing shows that the offense was les serious in comparison.
Hervey, noting his “moderate” risk for recidivism based on evaluation stated that his only showing for less risk was that Maxwell has led a “law abiding” life with mostly “alcohol related traffic offenses.”
Hervey then sentenced Maxwell to four years at the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (ODRC) then laid into him before sending him out the door.
“Mr. Maxwell, I can’t think of anything worse to do than harm a three-year old child,” he began, “that child is defenseless, that child is innocent and what you did to that child could lead to problems with that child for the rest of his life.” He continued by berating Maxwell for taking advantage of knowing the victim and gaining his trust.
“As the prosecutor stated if we could give you a greater sentence that’s exactly what we would do.” Hervey said. “…I’m not going to give you anything to appeal,” Hervey said in regards to a five-year sentence and a chance for appeal because of it being the maximum.
Hervey also informed Maxwell that his offense was classified as Tier 2 and would require him to register with his local sheriff’s department every 180 days as a sex offender for 25 years. He also waived his right to a hearing challenging the fact that he is prohibited from living within 1,000 feet of a school or daycare facility as well as the reporting to a sheriff.
Maxwell also escaped the possibility of a life sentence only because of the gender of the child. Bruzzese later explained that if the victim had been female and it would have been penetration as opposed to fondling or “sexual contact,” he could have received a sentence much worse than the four years. He added that the concurrent sentences were the result of Maxwell’s two cases being related as his CBC was motioned to be revoked because of the sex crime.
Maxwell chose not to make a statement other than to say, “no, I can’t think of anything, I can’t think of anything at the present time.”