GREENVILLE – Eric Hemmelgarn, 38, of Greenville was remanded to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections on Wednesday after being found guilty for one count of gross sexual imposition.
Judge Jonathan P. Hein also imposed 60 months of community control sanctions for one count of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles.
Hemmelgarn’s attorney Paul Wagner, who requested a stay of execution to delay his client’s prison sentence, said he would be filing an appeal based on “conflicting testimony to say the least.”
During Tuesday’s bench trial, Wagner objected to some of the state’s exhibits entered by Darke County Assistant Prosecutor Deborah Quigley, as well as what he termed “numerous hearsay” evidence.
Wagner also told Hein that Hemmelgarn’s actions were “not a pattern of conduct.”
Hemmelgarn’s charges stem from an incident, which took place in September 2017, when a 12-year-old family member reported he showed her a pornographic movie on his cell phone.
The victim, who testified in court, also said Hemmelgarn touched her inappropriately while the movie was playing.
Another child who was asleep in the home at the time woke up and came into the room during the incident, the victim said, allowing her the chance to get away.
Greenville Police investigated the complaint, which included using a computer to extract browser history.
Greenville Detective Jason Marion testified there was a history of pornographic videos found on the cell phone, even though Hemmelgarn thought he’d deleted them prior to handing over his cell to police.
Also during Tuesday’s bench trial, Hemmelgarn admitted to using crack cocaine, which led to his addiction to porn.
Quigley said Wednesday she was pleased with the verdict, stating the “judgement was consistent with the testimony and evidence that was presented.”
Quigley also praised the Greenville Police Department for their investigation.
“They did an excellent job,” she said.
Prior to announcing his verdict, Hein heard a statement from the victim’s mother, who urged Hemmelgarn to get his life in order, stating “this is not the first time you’ve been accused, it is a repeat pattern.”
When given the opportunity to make a statement, Hemmelgarn said he was “not apologizing for touching (the victim) because I didn’t do it.”
He also said he would “apologize to (the victim and other family members) for allowing drugs back in my life.”
Hein made it clear he did not consider past accusations that did not lead to charges against Hemmelgarn when considering his verdict in this case, calling the defendant’s addiction to porn “disturbing.”
After his release from prison, Hemmelgarn must register as a Tier 2 sex offender for 25 years.
PHOTO CAPTION: Eric Hemmelgarn listens as Judge Jonathan P. Hein announces his verdict Wednesday. (Susan Hartley photo)