Attorney: Two Butler County arrests prove ‘tricks’ still work

A sex crime attorney said he was surprised Butler County Sheriff’s Office Investigations Division was able to charge two area men last week with importuning, soliciting to engage in sexual activity, a fifth-degree felony, after investigators pretended to be teenage boys.

Attorney Adam Bleile, who represents sex crime clients in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, said he has seen a significant drop in the number of importuning charges after the show “To Catch a Predator” aired for four years.

“Tricks don’t work now,” Bleile said. “These idiots are very few and far between.”

The sheriff’s office arrested John William Gaz, 59, of Cincinnati, and Stewart , 64, of West Chester, after they believed they were communicating in an online chat with a 15-year-old boy, according to Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones.

Bleile said what he sees more today is adults looking for sexual contact with other adults through digital communication. Then an undercover police officer communicates with the person on the site, and once the conversation turns sexual, and the adult “bites into the hook,” the undercover mentions he’s 14, 15 or 16 years old.

Then a meeting is arranged.

That type of police work isn’t entrapment, Bleile said, but he doesn’t agree with the practice.

He said generally speaking those on adult sites aren’t interested in meeting a minor.

A 2008 state law was passed to toughen the penalties for importuning. Under the statute, “there is a presumption that a prison term shall be imposed” on first-time offenders. There are times when offenders who get probation instead of prison enter into plea agreements in which the importuning charges pending against them are reduced to lesser charges, such as endangering children.

Most of Bleile’s clients aren’t sent to prison, he said, because they don’t have criminal records and are “decent people.”

He said “true predators” have figured out some of the police department tendencies. If the person in the chat is only able to communicate during a certain eight-hour window — which would mirror a person’s work schedule — the predators may go deeper “underground” when they realize it could be an investigator, not a teen.

He said teens would be available to communicate at any time because of their flexible schedules.

Butler County law enforcement officers said they didn’t want to discuss these on-going cases or the strategies they used to catch these individuals.

In both cases, electronic devices were seized and are being analyzed, according to the sheriff’s office.

“Individuals that come to Butler County to prey on our children and engage in this disgusting behavior will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones said.

Gaz was charged Feb. 28 after he allegedly agreed to meet who he thought was a 15-year-old boy. He was taken into custody. Detectives executed multiple search warrants and Gaz was booked into the Butler County Jail.

Bond was set at $15,000 Monday in Hamilton Municipal Court and Gaz was ordered to not use social media. His preliminary hearing was set for 8 a.m. Friday, according to court records.

Dickerson, of Lakesedge Court, was charged last week with importuning, a fifth-degree felony, and disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, a first-degree misdemeanor.

Dickerson believed he was communicating with a 15- year-old boy, but the Butler County Sheriff’s Office investigations division was posing as the teen, according to the sheriff’s office. After agreeing to meet him, Dickerson was taken into custody when he arrived.

Lt. Ed Tanner said Dickerson agreed to meet within an hour of communication. He agreed to meet at a gas station on Fairgrove Avenue across from the Butler County Fairgrounds.

Dickerson gave a description of the vehicle he would be driving, and when he arrived, detectives were waiting for him, according to Tanner.

Detectives executed multiple search warrants at Dickerson’s residence and for his car, where they seized electronics and a bag of items he planned to use in the encounter, Tanner said.

Dickerson was booked into the Butler County Jail on Tuesday afternoon and arraigned Wednesday in Hamilton Municipal Court, where bond was set at $25,000.

Staff writer Lauren Pack contributed to this report.

About the Author