JEFFERSON — The trial of a Conneaut man accused of sexting a minor has been delayed.
Justin Furmage, 43, is accused of importuning, which is defined as soliciting sex from a minor, according to the Ohio Revised Code.
Furmage is accused of attempting to start a relationship with a minor via instant messaging, Ashtabula County Prosecutor Cecilia Cooper said in August.
A trial in the case was scheduled for Jan. 14, according to court records.
Furmage’s importuning trial has been rescheduled for March 17. The delay was requested by the defense, according to court records
This is the second time Furmage has been charged with importuning.
In 2015, Furmage was charged with importuning, according to court records.
He pleaded guilty in 2016 and was sentenced to five years of probation and was required to register as a sex offender, according to court records. As part of the plea deal, an additional count of importuning and a count of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles were dismissed, according to court records.
Furmage’s probation was terminated early in Feb. 2019.
Because this is Furmage’s second time being charged with a sexually-oriented offense, he faces a mandatory 12-month jail sentence if convicted.
In November, Furmage was charged with eight counts of rape, first-degree felonies, and eight counts of gross sexual imposition, third-degree felonies.
The charges span a period of time from Feb 23, 2014 to July 30, 2019, according to the indictment.
For seven of the eight charges of rape, the victim was less than 10 years of age, according to the indictment. The Ohio Revised Code specifies a sentence of 15 years to life if the accused is found guilty in a rape case where the victim is less than 10 years old, according to the Ohio Supreme Court.
The indictment was secret until Furmage was arrested on Nov. 15.
Furmage’s bail conditions require him to have no contact with children and be monitored by GPS, according to court records.