POMEROY — A long-time fair board member and local farmer pleaded guilty on Monday to alleged sexual offenses which reportedly occurred with female teens employed on his farm.
Edward J. Holter, 56, of Pomeroy, pleaded guilty to a bill of information charging three counts of gross sexual imposition, each a felony of the fourth degree.
Special Prosecutor Angela R. Canepa, who is employed with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, represented the state at the plea hearing before Judge Dean Evans, who was appointed to hear the case. Jeff Finley represented Holter at the hearing.
Canepa detailed the alleged offenses against Holter which involve three separate victims who were employed on his farm over an eight-year time frame.
She stated that with the first victim Holter would make comments and sexually harass her; attempt to move her sports bras to see her breasts; ride on the four-wheeler with her, put his arms around her with his hands up her shirt or down her pants. With the second victim, Canepa saidHolter hosed her down, tried to get her to take her clothes off; grabbed her breasts and butt and tried to get her to lay in the hay with him. The third victim reported that Holter would smack her butt and make sexual comments; put his hand down her pants and panties and rub her, according to Canepa.
The victims were employed at different times beginning in 2005, with the last one quitting her job following the incident in 2012.
The sentencing recommendation read by Canepa calls for Holter to be sentenced to five years of community control, complete a sex offender evaluation and complete any recommended actions from that evaluation, resign from the Meigs County Fair Board and as a bus driver with Eastern Local (he has already retired from this position), as well as be prohibited from employing females under 18 and to not be employed in a position which would put him in close contact with minor females. He must also register as a Tier I sex offender.
Canepa stated that one or more of the victims may address the court at the time of sentencing.
Sentencing is scheduled for April 25 with a pre-sentence investigation to be completed before that time.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.
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