Sex offender, 48, found guilty after trading vape pens for sex act from girl, 13

Sentencing still pending for Dayton man convicted in Tipp City area incidents.

TROY — A Miami County jury Thursday found a Dayton man who is a registered sex offender guilty of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor — a case involving a 13-year-old girl engaging in a sex act in exchange for a nicotine vape pen.

The jury deliberated around 3½ hours before returning the felony verdict against Michael O. Fowler Jr., 48, in county Common Pleas Court. The jury also made a special finding with the charge that Fowler was more than 10 years older than the girl.

Credit: Miami County Jail

Credit: Miami County Jail

Sheriff’s detectives said Fowler communicated via Snapchat with a Tipp City area girl who was seeking to buy a vape pen.

The girl testified Wednesday that Fowler came to her family’s driveway in the early morning hours, first in December when he sold her a vape pen for $25. The second time the girl met with Fowler, again in the early morning hours in his car in the driveway, she didn’t have money for a vape pen. Fowler suggested she could “do something for him” and she agreed to oral sex, according to testimony.

When Fowler returned for a third time in early January, a neighbor saw the car in the driveway, and called the girl’s father, waking him.

The girl ran from the car into the house and Fowler sped off when the father came out with a gun, jurors were told.

Sheriff’s detective Sgt. Todd Cooper described how he obtained a search warrant for Google to help identify the phone device that was in the driveway in the early hours of Jan. 2. Records obtained through that warrant led detectives to Fowler, who the girl identified in a photo lineup.

Jurors on Thursday viewed the sheriff’s detectives’ more than hour-long interview of Fowler, who admitted at one point that sexual contact occurred. He also described how he would buy vape pens at gas stations and sell them to underage teens who would contact him on Snapchat.

Fowler did not testify.

He is on parole with the Adult Parole Authority following conviction for illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented matter in Montgomery County, where he is a Tier I registered sex offender. Judge Jeannine Pratt ordered a pre-sentence investigation and scheduled sentencing for Oct. 24. Fowler will remain in the county jail pending sentencing.

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