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Pickerington North student sentenced for 2 sexual assaults against other children

The teen is also accused in a third case after he was allowed back to Pickerington North HS due to a “safety plan” that was put in place to allow him to return.

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Ohio — A Fairfield County juvenile has been sentenced for two sexual assault cases involving other children.

The first happened in June of 2021 when police say the boy, who was 14 at the time, approached an 8-year-old girl while at a playground and said he wanted to play a game. Reports say he took the girl to the basketball courts behind shrubs and assaulted her.

“This is not the person that you are,” the girl’s mother told the teen in court, Wednesday. “You are a child of God and he loves you right where you sit.”

10TV is not identifying the suspect, victims, or their families since this is a juvenile case.

That girls’ parents in court, Wednesday, told the teen that while this affected their daughter and family tremendously, they will continue to pray for him. The parents of the young girl believe the teen’s parents did little to keep him from re-offending.

“The [family] chose to not take this seriously,” the mother said. “They did nothing to protect other children from their son.”

Two months later, last August, another victim.

“I can’t sleep at night,” the victim’s father said. “I worry about what my son will remember as he grows older.”

That case, where court records say the same teen, now 15, was accused of sexually assaulting a 5-year-old boy while playing hide-and-seek.

“We feel betrayed by a court system that’s failed to impose protections for our community and the protections it deserves,” the boy’s father said.

The teen was charged as a juvenile in both cases. He reached a plea deal in the June case and was found delinquent of gross sexual imposition. 

Court records further show the court found the boy delinquent, or guilty, of rape in the August case.

“Society also needs to be made aware of this threat to our innocent children,” the boy’s mother said.

Then, in January 2022, the teen was allowed back at Pickerington North High School.

Court records show a student safety plan was developed and signed off on by the court and Pickerington North High School Principal Mark Ulbrich.

10TV obtained that plan from the Fairfield County Prosecutor’s Office before it was sealed.

The plan lays out, in detail, how the student would be monitored from the school bus ride to and from school, saying he was to sit in the first couple rows and that was to be communicated to bus staff by Pickerington North Administration. The bus company wouldn’t confirm to 10TV if it received the plan.

The plan also details monitoring for the student in the classroom, hallways and lunchroom.

Nine days after that plan was put in place, the teen was accused of propositioning a 7-year-old on a school bus to unbutton his pants. He has currently not been charged in this case.

“There is clearly a risk to the community,” the boy’s mother said. “In the span of just a few months last summer the defendant sexually assaulted, raped two young children that we know of to date. Then, while waiting, he re-offended with a child on the school bus. Either his parents failed to impress on him the seriousness of his action of the criminal charges or he didn’t care.”

The teen was sentenced to one year and six months, respectively, for both cases. However, the judge suspended his stay with the Ohio Department of Youth Services and, instead, sentenced the teen to a community correction facility to receive treatment, where he will be released once he completes his treatment. 

After being released, the teen will be on probation for five years. Right now, it is unclear if he will have to register as a sex offender.

The teen's parents told the court Wednesday that he has had significant health issues since he was a baby. They also noted, which was confirmed by therapists and a Pickerington Local School District Special Education employee, that the teen has always been below grade level.

A school employee who works with the teen says he is currently at a third- or fourth-grade reading level.

The girl victims’ parents also mentioned Principal Ulbrich and the school’s safety plan.

Principal Ulbrich has been on administrative leave since February. The district, however, has never provided the basis for Ulbrich’s leave. When asked for a comment Wednesday, district spokeswoman Crystal Davis said “as mentioned previously, it is the practice of the District to not publicly discuss personnel matters; therefore, no further information can be shared at this time.”

10TV has contacted several school districts and a former juvenile judge to discuss safety plans. All of them say these types of plans are rare, but when they are put in place, it’s possible other parents won’t be made aware of them due to privacy rights of the student to which the plan applies.

Editor's Note: The age timeline of the convicted teen was incorrect in a previous version of this story. The article was corrected to state he was 14 years old in June of 2021 and is now 15.

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