Franklin man accused of offering teen boy money for sex arraigned again due to error

Credit: Franklin Division of Police

Credit: Franklin Division of Police

A 60-year-old man who police said gave a “bear hug” last week to a teen boy walking down the street in Franklin and offered to pay him for sex was rearraigned on a charge Friday of compelling prostitution/soliciting a minor.

Michael J. Steiner, 60, of Franklin, entered a not guilty plea in his initial appearance April 16 in Franklin Municipal court to a charge of promoting prostitution. Acting Franklin Police Chief Brian Pacifico said there was an error on the charging document that required another arraignment on the correct charge.

He had been released on a $25,000 bond.

According to the Franklin clerk’s office, Steiner is scheduled for a preliminary hearing at 4 p.m. Tuesday. At that time, the court will determine whether there is enough evidence to bind the case over to a Warren County grand jury for further consideration.

Pacifico said the teen missed his bus and had to walk to school the morning of April 13. Around 7:30 a.m., the boy saw the suspect in a van.

“The gentleman got out of his vehicle and walked over and hugged him,” Pacifico said, “and kind of gave him a bear hug and stopped the kid.”

Pacifico said the teen “was very scared“ and eventually was able to run away. Pacifico said a woman saw the boy running on Jackson Street and stepped in.

According to Warren County Court records, Steiner was convicted in 2007 for sexual imposition, a third-degree misdemeanor.

Anyone with information about possible other victims is urged to contact Franklin police detective David Hatfield at (937) 746-2882.

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