Extra deputies ringed the Madison County Common Pleas Courtroom on Thursday as admitted child molester Cameron Hester was sentenced to 42 months in prison.
The 18-year-old Hester pleaded guilty in April to a single count of gross sexual imposition, stemming from a Sept. 27, 2013, incident at a London apartment complex.
Family members of the 4-year-old victim remained orderly in the face of added security. Their outbursts disrupted previous hearings in the emotionally charged case when Judge Eamon Costello and defense attorney Mike Murray bantered over legal points.
Prior to Thursday’s hearing, Costello acknowledged emotions were running high on behalf of the young victim. However, he noted court proceedings must remain orderly.
The victim’s grandmother pleaded for a maximum sentence of five years for Hester. She said her once-happy grandchild is now fearful and suspicious. Hester’s actions affected the entire family, she said.
Murray asked for leniency, noting his client suffered a “horrendous upbringing” that included neglect, sexual abuse and confinement in a psychiatric hospital. He said Hester has no criminal history and came to London from New Jersey last year to reconnect with estranged family members.
Hester attempted to hang himself while in Tri-County Regional Jail, prompting jail staff to place the man on suicide watch, Murray added.
Costello said a pre-sentence investigation confirmed Murray’s statements.
It also showed Hester is admittedly attracted to young girls.
“That puts him at risk to society,” Costello said.
While Hester admitted touching the child’s private parts, more serious conduct might have occurred, Costello said.
In addition to the prison time, Costello ordered Hester classified as a Tier II sex offender with mandatory reporting for 25 years.
He also credited Hester with nine months spent in jail, leaving 33 months on the man’s sentence.
In other common pleas court action on Thursday:
• Joshua A. Davis, 32, of London, pleaded guilty to a bill of information that accused him of forging checks between Oct. 21-23, 2013. The admission allowed Davis to avoid a grand jury appearance.
Davis pleaded guilty to a similar charge in March, based on incidents between Oct. 11-15, 2013.
Costello set sentencing in both cases for June 26.
Costello also denied a request by prosecutor Steve Pronai to jail Davis. Pronai said Davis violated terms of his house arrest by visiting a west Columbus restaurant.
Costello warned Davis to stay at home in the future.
“Mr. Pronai may be able to recommend better restaurants to you,” Costello told Davis.
• Teresa M. Allen-Scott, 53, of Cincinnati, was charged with theft from an elderly person, stemming from a May 4, 2012 incident at a London nursing home.
Magistrate Lauren Kimmel appointed Josh Peistrup to represent Allen-Scott at an Aug. 15 trial and released the woman on a signature bond.