OTTAWA — An Ottawa man faces up to eight years in prison after accepting a plea deal Thursday on charges involving sexual acts with a minor.
Daniel F. Salazar, who turned 38 on Sunday, pleaded guilty to sexual battery and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, both third-degree felonies, involving a girl who was between 13 and 16 years old at the time.
He accepted the sexual battery plea instead of facing a rape charge, a first-degree felony. The charge meant he coerced the girl to submit by means that prevented her resistance.
The incident happened late one night between June 18 and July 31, 2018, at Salazar’s residence, according to court documents.
“I was drinking, and some stuff happened,” Salazar said during Thursday’s plea change.
Putnam County Common Pleas Court Judge Keith Schierloh responded, “You were drinking and some stuff happened? That’s not always against the law. What was going on here?”
Salazar, who said he only finished school up to the ninth grade and had mental illness in the past, didn’t clearly answer the judge’s question.
“I don’t know what to say right now,” said Salazar, who mostly answered Schierloh’s questions “yes, sir” throughout the plea change.
Putnam County Assistant Prosecutor Todd Schroeder said there was a witness who heard the crime occur who would’ve testified if the case went to trial.
Salazar faces up to five years in prison on the sexual battery charge and up to three years in prison on the unlawful sexual conduct with a minor charge. He’ll also be labeled a Tier 3 Sexual Offender. Schierloh requested a pre-sentence investigation, with sentencing planned for 9 a.m. Monday, Sept. 14.
Salazar was originally indicted on the same charges on March 5 and entered a not guilty plea on March 9. His attorney, John Hopkins, said in a July hearing the charges in the new indictment appear to have expanded the time frame when the allegations occurred.
Schroeder said the prosecutor’s office plans to dismiss the original two charges before sentencing.