Note: This story appears in the Friday, July 5 newspaper on Page A3.

A formerly prominent Nelsonville man who was convicted many years ago of multiple sex crimes against minors has now been charged with 31 counts of pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor and an additional count of pandering obscenity involving a minor.

Richard Adams, 74, now of Hawks Road, Athens, made his initial appearance Wednesday in Athens County Municipal Court via video from Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail. His bond was set at $500,000 on the felony charges and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for this coming Monday.

All of the charges, filed by the Athens County Sheriff’s Office, list the date of the alleged offenses as “on or about May 12.”

Sheriff Rodney Smith said the charges result from a search Tuesday of Adams’ home, where electronic equipment was seized. Search warrants for the devices were obtained, and an initial search of one of them allegedly found still images and videos of child pornography.

The sheriff said his department was acting on a tip received from the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

According to the sheriff’s office, Adams was in prison from 1989 to 1993 after being convicted of three counts of gross sexual imposition. At the time, he was well-known in Nelsonville and active in the community. Adams was later in prison from 1999 to 2011 after being convicted of four counts of gross sexual imposition, one count of sexual battery and one count of rape.

Court records show that the stint in prison that began in 1999 resulted from Adams pleading guilty to sexual battery and two counts of gross sexual imposition. The Messenger reported at the time that the charges involved three 13-year-old boys. He was sentenced to seven years in prison and determined by the court to be a habitual sex offender.

While Adams was still in prison he was indicted in 2005 on two counts of gross sexual imposition and one count of rape. Those charges involved a 9-year-old boy and the offenses occurred in 1997 and 1998. Adams pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years in prison, consecutive to the sentence he was already serving.

A spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said Adams was paroled in 2011 and released from five years of post-release control in August of 2016.

srobb@athensmessenger.com; Twitter @SteveRmessenger

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