Ottawa teen admits having sex with 15-year-old

OTTAWA — A Putnam County teenager accepted a sweeping plea offer from prosecutors on Monday and pleaded guilty to engaging in sexual conduct with a minor female and having nude photographs of the female on his cell phone, among other charges.

Garrett Schroeder, 19, of Ottawa, will be sentenced May 13 after pleading guilty to charges in three separate cases.

Schroeder’s community control sanctions were revoked on a fifth-degree felony charge of assault from 2023 after the teenager admitted violating those sanctions by having nude photos of the female on his phone earlier this year.

As part of a deal with prosecutors, Schroeder also pleaded guilty to an amended third-degree felony charge of the attempted illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance. The count was amended from a similar second-degree felony offense that was handed down by the grand jury.

The Ottawa man also pleaded guilty Monday to five of eight additional sex charges handed down by a grand jury in March. As part of the plea agreement, Schroeder entered guilty pleas to a fourth-degree felony charge of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a fifth-degree felony count of the illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented materials, and first-degree misdemeanors charges of the unlawful sexual conduct with a minor (two counts) and stalking.

In exchange for that plea, prosecutors dismissed two counts of the illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material and one count of the possession of criminal tools.

Prosecutors alleged earlier this year that Schroeder had photographed the 15-year-old female in a state of nudity in September of last year. Putnam County Prosecutor Gary Lammers said a tip from law enforcement in Cuyahoga County prompted Putnam County officials to obtain a warrant to search Schroeder’s computer. Pornographic images were allegedly located on the device, including photos of the girl. Lammers at that time said additional charges against Schroeder would be forthcoming.

Putnam County Common Pleas Court Judge Keith Schierloh questioned Schroeder at Monday’s hearing about the incidents that led to the charges against him. The teenager admitted having sexual relations with a girl he knew to be 15 years old girl and taking nude photos of the female.

Schroeder faces a maximum possible prison term of 6 1/2 years when he is sentenced next month. He will be labeled a Tier II sex offender and will be required to register with the authorities every 180 days for the next 25 years.

In April 2023, Schroeder was charged with assault for putting red pepper into a beverage of a corrections officer at the Putnam County jail while serving as a trustee at the jail. The corrections officer reportedly suffered an anaphylactic shock as a result of that incident, which resulted in the assault charge.

He was sentenced to five years on probation and 30 days in the Putnam County jail.