Wednesday, June 16, 1999

Computer files bring indictment

Oxford resident faces sex charges

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COLUMBUS — An Oxford man's computer betrayed him, police say, leading to his 33-count indictment on Internet sex-related charges involving 19 juveniles in nine Ohio counties, including Butler and Hamilton.

        Police seized the computer of Mark William Maxwell, 28, in August after he met a 13-year-old girl at a Columbus-area ice cream parlor and allegedly tried to persuade her to have sex with him.

        The computer's files revealed that, in a 17-month period, Mr. Maxwell had Internet contacts with 248 people — at least 100 thought to be underage girls throughout the nation, said Mike Holton, a detective in the Columbus suburb of Worthington.

        The ensuing 10-month investigation of those contacts led to Mr. Maxwell's indictment on charges that he paid girls for sex acts, shared Internet pornography with them and downloaded obscene images of minors.

        “This happens all the time, and parents don't realize it,” Detective Holton said. “None of these girls' parents wanted to believe their daughter could have been a victim.” Eighteen were girls ages 13-17; one was a 13-year-old Akron-area boy who received pornographic photos from Mr. Maxwell, according to the indictment. All the offenses allegedly occurred between May and August 1998.

        Arrested at his parents' Oxford home Monday night by the Butler County sheriff's fugitive unit, Mr. Maxwell posted $25,000 bond Tuesday and was released from the Butler County Jail.

        He was to appear today in Columbus' Franklin County Common Pleas Court on the charges. Prosecutors there were expected to seek a higher bond, Detective Holton said.

        Mr. Maxwell's lawyer, Clayton Napier of Hamilton, is vacationing out of state and cannot be reached for comment until next week, a secretary said Tuesday.

        Mr. Maxwell previously was convicted of a public indecency charge in Hamilton, which stems from a July 1 incident in which he allegedly masturbated in his car in front of a 15-year-old girl. A city judge was expected to decide July 20 whether to impose or suspend Mr. Maxwell's 30-day jail sentence on that charge.

        Two other charges — possession of marijuana and illegal use or possession of drug paraphernalia — are pending in Butler County Common Pleas Court.

        Included in this week's Franklin County indictment is a compelling-prostitution charge stemming from Mr. Maxwell's Aug. 20 arrest at a Worthington ice cream shop. The 13-year-old girl he met there wore a hidden tape-recording device while police listened.

        Another compelling-prostitution charge alleges he paid or agreed to pay a 14-year-old Hamilton County girl for a sex act in August.

        He also faces 12 felony counts and seven misdemeanor counts of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, 10 counts of pandering obscenity involving a minor and illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance.


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