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Gilboa man pleads not guilty human trafficking, child pornography charges

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Gary L. Badertscher (Source: Putnam County Sheriff's Office) Gary L. Badertscher (Source: Putnam County Sheriff's Office)
OTTAWA, OH (Findlay Courier) -

A Gilboa man on Monday pleaded not guilty to dozens of sex offenses, including human trafficking and spreading child pornography.

Gary L. Badertscher, 53, denied all 46 counts in Putnam County Common Pleas Court. The felony charges include compulsion to involuntary servitude, endangering children, disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, pandering sexually-oriented material involving a minor, and illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material.

The second-degree felony charge of endangering children alleges he coerced underage women, of about 15, 16 and 17 years old, to be used in sexual material, according to the indictment.

Badertscher is also charged with a first-degree felony count of compulsion to involuntary servitude, for allegedly enticing a victim into involuntary obscene acts, according to the indictment.

Badertscher's additional charges include two counts of providing obscene materials to juveniles, six counts of obtaining material showing an underage girl in sexual activity, and 33 counts of possessing lewd material depicting underage girls.

Each offense is alleged to have occurred between last year and August in Putnam County.

Judge Randall Basinger continued bond at $100,000.

Assistant Prosecutor Todd Schroeder said the young women are now safe. He declined to specify their conditions or details of the case.

Schroeder has said this is the first human trafficking case he can recall in Putnam County.

Badertscher could be sentenced to 90 years and six months in prison if convicted of all counts, Schroeder said.

Badertscher is a registered sex offender. His prior criminal record includes a prison sentence for Hancock County convictions in 2004 for importuning and attempted sexual conduct with a minor.

He was convicted in 2001 and 2006 in Florida of lewd acts involving a child, according to Florida law enforcement records.

Court records list Badertscher's home address as 328 Sugar Ridge Road in Gilboa. Several neighbors would not comment to a reporter on Monday.

News of Badertscher's indictment was reported in several area newspapers on Dec. 20 and Dec. 21.

Firefighters responded at about 6 p.m. Dec. 21 to a fire that destroyed Badertscher's house trailer. The state fire marshal is investigating and has not yet determined a cause, a spokesman said.

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