A Middletown man admitted to sexual conduct with a teen, ending a trial before evidence was presented.
A jury was selected late Monday in Butler County Common Pleas Court for the trial of William L. Powell, 70, of the 1300 block of Oxford State Road Powell was charged with three counts of rape, gross sexual imposition, two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and contributing to the unruliness or delinquency of a minor.
Opening statements were scheduled to begin on Tuesday in Judge Greg Stephens’ courtroom, but Powell instead pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a third-degree felony that carries a maximum sentence of 60 months in prison. The remaining charges were dismissed.
Powell has been free since shortly after his arrest on Sept. 20, 2018 on $405,000 bond. The judge ordered him taken into custody Tuesday and set sentencing for Feb. 4.
The charge wo which Powell pleaded guilty indicates he had sexual conduct with a minor between the ages of 13 and 15 in August 2010. The crime took place in Trenton and was investigated by police there. Trenton Detective Sean Gill, along with many friends and family of the victim, were in the courtroom when Powell entered the plea.
Two other accusers also came forward, according to police. But Assistant Butler County Prosecutor Kelly Heile said there was a statute of limitations issue, and the indictment pertains to just one victim.
Powell’s attorney, Michael Brush, requested Powell, who has health issues, remain free until sentencing. The attorney said his client wants to make sure his wife is financially taken care of and noted that since posting bond he has had not pre-trial violations.
Brush told the judge the crime his client admitted occurred nine years ago, and he has no prior felony or misdemeanor record and is a veteran.
“Mr. Powell has never, not one time, missed a court appearance,” Brush said.
The attorney noted when Powell recently had some health issues, he was able to contact the court and the prosecution.
“It was not an attempt to delay the trial,” Brush said.
Powell has bladder cancer that is in remission and sees a therapist and psychologist every week, Brush said.
Heile argued Powell should not remain free on bond, noting he has entered a guilty plea, there is no longer a presumption of innocence and he has threatened to commit suicide.
“In addition to the concerns that caused him to be hospitalized recently, the defendant had … prior contact with the VA hospital regarding suicide and in his phone call (that was monitored by police) he indicated he was going to commit suicide to take care of his wife because he had everything set up so that he could do that,” Heile said.
She added when Powell was confronted with the allegations, he also made a threat against the victim.
Stephens agreed with the prosecution and ordered Powell be taken to the Butler County Jail, where a pre-sentence evaluation will be conducted.
The defense attorney asked about the possibility of a bracelet or monitor for Powell.
Stephens answered, “you can commit suicide with a bracelet on.”
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