By CARL E. FEATHER - firstname.lastname@example.org
A North Kingsville man whose home and business were raided by law enforcement in September 2012 has been sentenced to three years in a state prison.
Jason Sams, 33, was arrested at his home the morning of Sept. 27 on a warrant issued by Hocking County authorities. He was extradited to Hocking County, where he was charged with one count of sexual battery related to a visit that he and a 13-year-old male made to a Hocking Hills cabin in March 2012.
A witness who cleaned the cabin after Sams and the youth stayed there found eight used condoms in the garbage and stained bed sheets, according to authorities who investigated the incident. According to published reports, the Bureau of Criminal investigation linked Sams and the youth to the condoms through DNA testing.
Reports also state that the witness saw Sams and the youth kissing and had heard screams coming from the cabin. The witness allegedly identified Sams in a photo that investigators produced.
Sams owned Jason Sams Computer Services in North Kingsville and was a reverend and fifth-generation psychic. He taught mediumship classes, led a ghost-hunting group and was active in the Ashtabula County community as a computer software instructor.
Bill Archer, Hocking County assistant prosecutor, said the 13-year-old victim was a resident of Ashtabula County.
“We located him through (Ashtabula County) juvenile court,” Archer said.
Sams described his relationship with the youth as a “mentor,” according to Archer.
“The victim was not very cooperative,” Archer said of the youth. He said that even if the sex between the youth and Sams was consensual, it was illegal because of the victim’s age.
Sams allegedly told Hocking County Sheriff’s Office employees that, as a psychic, he foresaw the arrest for the crime. In November, Sams entered a guilty plea to the third-degree felony of sexual battery and, as part of the bargain, a charge of endangering children was dropped. According to published reports, Sams told the judge he was sorry for his actions, and his defense attorney told the judge Sams did not make any attempt to hide what he had done.
Hocking County Common Pleas Judge John Wallace sentenced Sams last month. Sams will serve three years in an institution determined by the Ohio Department of Corrections. He will be considered a Tier III sex offender for the balance of his life. Among the restrictions placed on tier III offenders is a prohibition against living within 1,000 feet of a school, day care or other facility that has organized functions for children and have strict reporting requirements.
The investigation began with the Hocking County Sheriff’s Office but grew to involve Attorney General Mike Dewine’s Crimes Against Children Unit and the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Department. Computers were seized from both Sams’ shop and home during the search warrant execution in September, and law enforcement asked the public to provide leads on other possible incidents of sexual contact with minors.
A spokeswoman from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office would not comment on the investigation by their Crimes Against Children Unit, except to say it is ongoing. Archer said he is unaware of any additional investigations by Hocking County officials regarding other incidents involving Sams. He said the case moved quickly through the court because of the solid investigation and Sams’ cooperation.
“This was investigated well,” Archer said. “It does make it easier.”