Note: This story appears in the Thursday, July 18 newspaper on Page A1.
Richard “Dick” Adams pleaded innocent Tuesday in Athens County Common Pleas Court to 32 charges related to child pornography.
As previously reported, Adams, 74, of Hawks Road, Athens, was indicted July 8 by an Athens County grand jury on one charge of pandering obscenity involving a minor and 31 counts of pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor. The charges stemmed from a search by authorities of Adams’ residence during which multiple electronic devices were allegedly seized.
County Assistant Prosecutor Glenn Jones told Judge George McCarthy the search happened after Google contacted the Internet Crimes Against Children task force to report that child pornography was allegedly showing up on Adams’ email accounts.
Jones asked McCarthy to continue Adams’ bond at $500,000, citing Adams’ prior convictions for rape, sexual battery and seven counts of gross sexual imposition involving minors in cases from 1989, 1999 and 2005. Adams was declared a habitual sexual offender in the 1999 case. He was most recently released from prison in 2011.
“In the instant case the state will allege that the defendant was communicating with another defendant who has been arrested, wherein that defendant had assumed the identity of an actual (17-year-old) juvenile here in the county and the two entities were exchanging child pornography,” Jones said. “So it will be the state’s contention that the defendant thought he was communicating with a minor...”
Jones did not identify the other defendant.
However, 37-year-old Joshua Copeland of Guysville was arrested July 11 on seven felony counts of illegal use of a minor in nudity oriented material and three counts of pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor. He also faces a felony charge of having a weapon under disability. As of Wednesday afternoon, he was in Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail awaiting a preliminary hearing in Athens County Municipal Court.
The prosecutor’s office has alleged previously that there was communication between Adams and Copeland, and that it was the Adams investigation that led authorities to Copeland.
Before setting bond, McCarthy asked Jones to give him some sense of the strength of the prosecutions case.
“These charges, I believe, stemmed from a thumb drive found at the defendant’s home. Analysis of that thumb drive revealed the images that make up the basis of this indictment,” Jones alleged. “That is not all the child porn that was on that thumb drive. Numerous other electronic devices (and) cameras were taken and are currently being analyzed, so we anticipate even more charges coming forth once we have the reports back from the examiners.”
McCarthy, citing concern about public safety, set Adams’ bond at $1 million and set a tentative trial date of Sept. 26.