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Springboro man seeks insanity defense on child sex charges

A Springboro man remains in the Warren County Jail almost eight months after he was arrested on charges accusing him of sexually abusing two young girls in incidents six years apart in Springboro and Lebanon.

Brian M. Jones has been in the county jail since April 18, when he was arrested at the Springboro Police Department, according to police reports, jail and court records.

He is charged with two counts of gross sexual imposition and single counts of rape and sexual battery. Bond is set at $200,000 cash.

Police reports show the case came to light as result of a reported domestic violence incident involving the alleged victim’s mother and grandmother at an apartment in Springboro.

During interviews by a Springboro detective, the grandmother said the alleged victim told her “Brian and his imaginary friend Bad Charlie from the closet would sometimes touch her when ‘they’ gave her a bath. Brian then would tell (her) demons made him do it,” Detective Dustin Christian wrote in a police report.

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Jones is accused of sexually abusing one girl in April in Springboro, the other in Lebanon in 2011, according to the indictment.

Jones is pleading not guilty by reason of insanity, but he has been found competent to stand trial and assist in his defense.

Rather than the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office, an appointed prosecutor from Hamilton County is handling the case.

Jones is scheduled for a five-day trial, set to begin on Jan. 8.

After Jones’ indictment in May, Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell filed an application for special prosecutor because he “believes neither he nor any member of his staff should be involved.”

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Fornshell did not respond to a request for an explanation about the reason for the appointment.

Amy Tranter, the assistant in the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office handling the case, declined to comment on the pending case. The two offices cover each other’s appointments at no cost.

Jones’ Butler County-based lawyer, Joseph Auciello Jr., could not be reached for comment. Auciello was appointed on May 15, the same day lawyer Martin Hubbell withdrew, citing an “unavoidable conflict.”

Hubbell said he withdrew because another lawyer in his law firm represented people involved in the criminal case in a custody case in the local juvenile court.

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On June 21, Auciello filed with the court for a competency evaluation and filed notice that he expected to seek a not-guilty-by-reason-of-insanity verdict.

“Mr. Jones may have a mental disease or defect that made him unable to understand the wrongfulness of his acts at the time of his offense, unable to fully comprehend the proceedings in this court at this time, and/or unable to assist counsel in the preparation and defense of this case,” Auciello said in the motion.

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Judge Timothy Tepe found Jones competent to stand trial on Sept. 22, citing his evaluation by Dr. Robert Kurzhals.

“Based on the evidence, the Court finds the Defendant is capable of understanding the nature of the charges, the objective of the proceedings and is able to assist in his own offense,” Tepe said in an order filed on Sept. 22 in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

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