GREENVILLE — A Greenville man charged with gross sexual imposition and disseminating matter harmful to a juvenile was sentenced to a year in prison after being found guilty Wednesday in Darke County Common Pleas Court.
Judge Jonathan P. Hein immediately remanded Eric J. Hemmelgarn, 38, to the custody of officers after pronouncing him guilty on both felony counts. His case was heard Tuesday in a bench trial before the judge.
Hemmelgarn was accused of showing a pornographic video on his phone to a juvenile under the age of 13 and placing his hand down her underwear. The incident reportedly took place Sept. 8, 2017.
Assistant Prosecutor Deborah Quigley asked the court to impose a prison sentence on the defendant, noting the serious nature of the offenses and citing Hemmelgarn’s prior criminal history and drug issues.
“The one thing that the state found most compelling was the victim’s statement that she was ‘afraid every night,’” Quigley said.
Paul Wagner, Hemmelgarn’s attorney, requested the court impose community control sanctions in lieu of prison.
“At best, as proven by the state, this is a one-time thing. One time is not a pattern of conduct,” he said, saying Hemmelgarn was gainfully employed and has sought to address his addiction issues.
While he admitted to problems with drug and pornography, Hemmelgarn said he would not apologize regarding the charges, continuing to assert he did not commit the offenses.
“Where I’ve failed in my life is being a dad,” he said. “I’ll apologize to my kids for allowing the drugs to take over my life again, but I’m not apologizing for touching [redacted] because I didn’t do it, and I’ll take it to my grave.”
In a statement to the court, the victim’s mother addressed Hemmelgarn directly, saying that while his family still loved him, “This is not the first time you’ve been accused of this. This is a repeat pattern.”
In addition to a year in prison, Hein sentenced Hemmelgarn to five years of community control following his release. As well, Hemmelgarn will be required to seek treatment for drug and pornography addiction and must register as a Tier II sex offender.
Wagner said he will file an appeal, citing what he considered hearsay and conflicting evidence presented during the trial.