Sentencing delayed in Springboro child sex case

UPDATE @ 5:56 p.m. (March 30): Sentencing for 27-year-old James Morger of Mason, who has pleaded guilty to a child pornography charge involving a 12-year-old Springboro school girl, has been delayed.

Morger remains free while awaiting sentencing, now scheduled by Judge Robert Peeler for April 28.

Morger was to be sentenced on April 2 but that was delayed late last week “due to the unavailability of a witness whose testimony counsel believes the court should consider prior to imposing sentence,” lawyer Greg Howard said in a motion that does not divulge the name of the witness.

FIRST REPORT (Feb. 19)

A Mason man pleaded guilty to three felony charges stemming from a sexual abuse case involving a boy and girl in the Springboro schools.

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James Morger, 27, changed his plea to guilty on charges of of possession of marijuana, attempted illegal manufacturing of drugs and endangering children during a hearing Wednesday in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

In exchange the prosecutor’s office agreed to drop charges of possession of criminal tools, disseminating material harmful to juveniles, trafficking in marijuana and possession of drugs.

The case is set for sentencing by Judge Robert Peeler at 9 a.m. Thursday, April 2.

“No promises have been made to me to secure my plea of guilty,” Morger said in the plea agreement.

For child endangering, Morger and the prosecutors agreed to recommend a three-year prison sentence, with no early release until he had served one year. He faced up to eight years in prison and a $15,000 fine on this charge.

Although neither of the other charges calls for a mandatory prison sentence, Morger also faces up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine on the attempted illegal manufacturing charge and 12 months in prison and $2,500 fine for possession of marijuana.

The case began last March during an investigation into an allegation of sexual abuse between a boy under the age of 16, and girl under 13, who met at school in Springboro, according to police. The boy was ultimately sentenced to detention on a rape charge.

After pulling data from the girl’s phone, Clearcreek Twp. Police Sgt. Larry Cornett found evidence that the girl had been approached via text message and other digital messaging services “by unknown subjects requesting nude pictures and sexually explicit conversations. The victim sent nude and sexually explicit photographs electronically to the unknown subjects,” Cornett said in a search warrant affidavit.

An FBI agent subpoenaed a phone number that led to Morger, according to the affidavit. On July 8, the girl told Cornett she sent nude photos of herself to someone “known to her as Jay” via Morger’s number, according the warrant.

Morger was charged in Mason Municipal Court and indicted in September.

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