Friday, July 10, 2009

Governor Strickland'sSullivant Guy/Eric McFadden Pleads Guilty

Eric McFadden plead guilty to several sexual crimes involving a minor on Thursday.

His attorneys tried to suppress a search warrant of his home and tried to get his indictment dismissed on a technicality. But in the end, former state director Robert E. McFadden admitted yesterday to pimping a 17-year-old prostitute on the Internet.

McFadden, the former director of Gov. Ted Strickland's Faith-Based and Community Initiative, pleaded guilty to two felony counts after police said he put nude photographs of the girl on a Web site to promote prostitution.

McFadden, 46, of 6290 Hyland Dr. in Dublin, pleaded guilty to two counts of compelling prostitution using his computer between September and October last year. Five other counts of pandering obscenity and promoting prostitution were dismissed.

The pleas in Franklin County Common Pleas Court could land McFadden in prison for as long as 10 years. Judge Tim Horton set sentencing for Aug. 20.

Assistant Prosecutor Anthony Pierson said McFadden, free on $100,000 bond, took the photographs of the girl he met in an Internet chat room and then offered her services to other men on the site as a "recommended" prostitute.

Columbus police learned of the activity during an online sex sting in January. McFadden used aliases such as "Sullivant Guy," "Broad Street Guy" and "God O Thunder," police said.

Defense attorney Keith Golden told Horton that McFadden is not charged with having sex with the girl, but with promoting her sex services on craigslist.

McFadden, a former field director in a Catholic organization, was hired by Strickland in 2007 to lead the Faith-Based office, which was created to make it easier for religious organizations to compete for public funding.

He was paid $36 an hour.

He later was transferred to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction but was laid off because of budget cuts.

McFadden declined to comment after the hearing.

McFadden's judge in the case was recently involved treating a rape victim insensitively.

Horton still called the woman to the stand, and she began to break down. That's when the judge threatened to drop the charges if she didn't compose herself.

Later, after offering to give the woman a break, he said, "I'm going to take a five-minute recess. If the state doesn't have this witness together, I'm going to rip up this guilty-plea form, and I'm going to dismiss this case because … I've explained to counsel, to the state, on numerous occasions that I'm not going to accept this joint recommendation if in fact the witness is not prepared to make a statement."

Pushed for an answer about why she wanted a three-year sentence, the woman told Horton, "He's at least getting somewhat punished or something ... I didn't want to have to talk or anything."

After Dohmen apologized to the woman in court, Horton imposed a four-year prison term and the sexual-predator label. In the Dispatch interview, the woman said Horton was insensitive.

"I feel bad for anyone that has to deal with him," she said. " I don't think he has any feelings for the victims." ...

A victims' advocate is outraged.

But she said she was dismayed by Horton's actions in both cases. And she called the comments made by Horton to the woman "inexcusable."

"Let's forgo consideration of the expertise of the prosecutor and defense counsel and threaten a severely traumatized rape victim that if she doesn't pull herself together the judge will tear up the guilty plea and set the rapist free," Harper Lee said. "With that lack of compassion and threat of injustice, it's no wonder why 70 percent of rape victims don't report."

Without scratching below the surface, there are several other incidents noted that seem like the man's style could use some polishing but his heart is actually in the right place.

And Horton now acknowledges that he wasn't at his best during those moments.

"I don't intend to make this a trend," he said. "I'm still evolving as a judge. (The woman's case) was a plea I learned a lot from. It was not my finest plea....

Horton said this week that he was not confident that either victim understood what the plea agreements meant.

"I wasn't completely satisfied with the resolution," he said. "The most important thing for me is to try to get it right.

"I understand the state can speak for them, but I wanted to make sure the victim was content with the process."

He seems to me to possess some humility - though emotions are not something he wants to deal with, he was trying to ensure that justice is neither dwarfed nor perverted.

His sentencing is August 20th. I plan on toasting the sentence of an extremely deranged and dangerous man. And, sometime in the not too distant future, I'm planning on resuming my efforts to get the paper trail from the Strickland Administration on What Strickland knew about Eric McFadden and when he knew it. My paper trail, the investigation that took place within days of his departure from the Strickland Administration are tucked away somewhere "safe" in the Strickland Administration. They can rest their laurels in the knowledge that McFadden thought he was "safe" too.

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