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Ridge man pleads guilty to sex charges

YOUNGSTOWN — A Mineral Ridge man pleaded guilty to 16 counts dealing with a case of child pornography and voyeurism out of Austintown.

Robert J. Jensen, 42, of Mulberry Run, pleaded guilty to an amended indictment charging him with 11 counts of pandering obscenity involving a minor, one felony count of voyeurism and four more misdemeanor voyeurism counts. Jensen will submit to a background investigation prior to sentencing, but prosecutors have recommended a 12-year prison sentence.

Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge Anthony M. D’Apolito, who will have the final word on any sentence for Jensen, said the defendant also will be labeled a Tier 2 sexual offender. After release from prison, he faces a mandatory five-year post-release supervision. As a sexual offender, he also will have to register his address with the sheriff’s office twice per year for 25 years.

The felony charges carry a maximum potential sentence of 17 1/2 years. According to Assistant Prosecutor Caitlyn Andrews, Jensen was indicted on Nov. 4, 2021, on 36 counts. Dismissed in the plea deal were 19 counts of pandering obscenity involving a minor and one count of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance.

Jensen’s attorney, James E. Lanzo, will be arguing for a lighter sentence for his client at the sentencing hearing scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Sept. 29 in D’Apolito’s courtroom.

The case deals with an investigation by Austintown police in May 2021. According to the indictment, files of sexually explicit images of minors were intercepted and sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The investigation was linked to Jensen’s files.

The voyeurism charges consist of incidents between 2014 and July 2021 involving victims ranging in ages 14 to 68, according to the indictment.

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