Saturday, July 19, 2003

Ex-mentor convicted in sex case

The Associated Press

NEWARK, Ohio - A former volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America has been convicted of 89 sex charges involving 11 boys.

Scott Wagner, 35, faces more than 536 years in prison if he receives consecutive sentences on the convictions reached Thursday by a Licking County jury.

Wagner, of nearby McKean Township, was accused of abusing the boys between June 1996 and July 2002, when they were younger than 13.

Assistant County Prosecutor Jody Richter said each of the 11 boys pointed out Wagner in the courtroom as the man who abused them.

Many of them met Wagner through friends or their families, some of whom rented property from Wagner.

Prosecutors said Wagner used a four-wheel-drive vehicle, video games, trips and gifts to entice his victims.

Defense attorney Blaise Baker said he could not prove his client's innocence, but he rejected the argument that Wagner lured them to his home and a nearby cabin.

"Why did they continue going? They were having a good time," Baker said.

Wagner was found guilty of charges including 36 counts of gross sexual imposition, 27 counts of rape and 14 counts of pandering obscene material.

Licking County Common Pleas Judge Thomas Marcelain planned to hold a sexual-offender status hearing and sentence Wagner on Aug. 14.

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