Editor’s note: This story contains sexually explicit material that may be offensive to some readers.


MOUNT VERNON — A Mount Vernon man said Thursday in Knox County Common Pleas Court that an inexplicable sexual urge led him to sexually assault the five-year-old girl who thought of him as her grandfather.

John C. Mullins, 71, was sentenced by Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Wetzel to 50 months in prison on one count of gross sexual imposition. Wetzel further ordered Mullins to pay restitution for the cost of counseling for the girl and her mother.

Mullins will further be required to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison.

The sexual contact involved “rubbing,” Knox County Prosecuting Attorney Chip McConville said.

The charge stems from June 3, when the girl reported she and Mullins had “done what her mommy and papi do,” according to court records.

Mullins admitted to the sexual contact and told the girl’s mother that he did it because the girl’s grandmother wouldn’t have sex with him.

Knox County Prosecuting Attorney Chip McConville asked for the maximum sentence of five years and said Mullins’s statement as to why he assaulted the girl was justification enough.

“The inherent wrongfulness of a 5-year-old as a sexual substitute should be apparent to anyone,” McConville said.

Mullins, speaking in court Thursday, said he suffered a “partial blackout,” perhaps brought on by post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). Mullins said he has been in treatment for PTSD for 14 years, and that it was brought on by his military experiences in Vietnam.

“I can’t tell you what happened that day,” Mullins said. “I don’t know what sexual urges came over me that made me do that.”

The girl’s mother said the child looked at Mullins as a grandfather, and that Mullins was her father figure. The mother said Mullins was part of a “circle of trust” in her life, and now she finds it difficult to trust anyone.

“(My daughter) cherished you, and you knew that,” the mother said. “We all loved you. … I don’t understand, I never will. I want you to get help.”

Also Thursday, Joshua A. Lee, 31, Marion, was sentenced by Wetzel to 14 months in prison on charges of escape and importuning.

The charges stem from Aug. 7, when Lee attempted to travel to Knox County to meet a 15-year-old girl with whom he had been exchanging texts of a sexual nature. The girl was actually a Knox County Sheriff’s detective.

Lee tried to travel to Knox County on a bike, but got winded and agreed to meet with the detective posing as the girl in Morrow County. Law enforcement arrested Lee at the meeting place. While Lee was handcuffed, he fled from the officers into a cornfield.

Lee’s attorney, Public Defender John Pyle, said Lee was highly intoxicated at the time and “in alcoholic stupidity, he runs away.” Pyle asked for a sentence in which Lee can get help for his alcoholism.

David D. Lagasse, 23, Oak Harbor, Thursday pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary. In exchange for Lagasse’s pleas, McConville dismissed two counts of receiving stolen property.

The charges stem from Sept. 3, when Lagasse and three co-defendants were apprehended as suspects in a string of burglaries targeting Amish homes.

Wetzel ordered a presentence investigation and scheduled sentencing for Jan. 17.

One of the co-defendants, Cody S. Brengartner, 24, Marblehead, previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to prison. The other co-defendants are Taylor M. Gobmeier, 19, Marblehead, who is scheduled for jury trial, and Joan M. Heintz, 18, Port Clinton, who is scheduled for a plea hearing Jan. 10.


Nick Sabo: 740-397-5333 or nsabo@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @mountvernonnews



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