127 sex-related charges against 2 Lima-area men


By J Swygart - jswygart@limanews.com



LIMA – The Allen County grand jury earlier this month handed down a combined 127 felony charges — including counts of rape, sexual contact with a minor and sexual battery — against two local men.

Scott Steffes, 38, of Lima, and Jeremy Kindle, 35, of Elida, were charged with 62 and 65 felony counts, respectively, in the grand jury indictments. The charges were based on a series of alleged incidents that also led the executive director and two employees of the Allen County Children’s Service to be placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

Steffes, who is being held on $500,000 bond, faces 62 charges that include two counts of rape, 25 counts of unlawful sexual contact with a minor, 28 counts of sexual battery, six counts of felonious assault and a single count of tampering with evidence.

Kindle is charged with 11 counts of rape, 11 counts of sexual battery, six counts of felonious assault, 17 counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, 18 counts of sexual battery and single counts of felonious assault and tampering with evidence.

Steffes is awaiting arraignment in Allen County Common Pleas Court. Kindle entered written pleas of not guilty to all charges on July 20. His next court appearance is a pre-trial hearing scheduled for 2 p.m. Aug. 4. He was ordered held on $750,000 bond.

The indictment against Steffes alleges the incidents in question took place during 2016, 2017 and 2018. The rape charges allege Steffes engaged in sexual conduct with two individuals, one who was less than 13 years of age and the other who was more than 13 but less than 16 years of age. The rape charges against Kindle allege sexual conduct with a child younger than 13.

The felonious assault counts allege that both Steffes and Kindle did knowingly engage in sexual conduct with another person knowing that they had tested positive for the virus that causes AIDS.

In July 2018, Kindle and Steffes, his partner, were foster parents and adopted three boys, ages 3 through 8, through Children Services. Kindle and Steffes already had legal custody of three boys between the age of 14 and 17 at the time, according to a story published in The Lima News then.

Earlier this year investigators with the Lima Police Department were alerted to questionable activities in the home. When officers from the Lima Police Department tried to arrest Kindle on May 23, he allegedly assaulted an officer, then went inside to get a cordless circular saw and cut his own throat. He was taken to OSU Wexner Medical Center in Columbus for treatment of his injuries.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation visited Allen County Children Services on May 27 and 28 to interview employees and gather materials in a larger investigation involving Kindle. The investigation led to the executive director of the agency, Cynthia Scanland, and program administrators Brent Bunke and Staci Nichols being placed on administrative leave.

A statement released Wednesday by the agency said officials “have cooperated with law enforcement” and that the three staff members will “remain on leave until that process is complete.”

“Our board is fully committed to transparency, and we will share every update that we can as soon as we are able,” according to the statement. “Most importantly, we remain committed to serving the community and fulfilling our vitally important mission for Allen County. Our staff is working diligently to meet the needs of families and to ensure the safety of our community’s most vulnerable children.”

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By J Swygart

jswygart@limanews.com

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