A Vincent woman must register as a Tier 1 sex offender and will spend 90 days behind bars for having sex with a 15-year-old boy multiple times last fall.
Niesha N. Hendrickson, 21, of 493 Barrett South Road, Vincent, was sentenced in Washington County Common Pleas Judge Ed Lane's courtroom Thursday morning. Her sentence also includes three years of community control.
She was charged with fourth-degree felony unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and faced a maximum possible sentence of 18 months in jail.
ASHLEY RITTENHOUSE The Marietta Times
Vincent resident Niesha Hendrickson, 21, sits with Washington County Public Defender Ray Smith in Washington County Common Pleas Judge Ed Lane’s courtroom Thursday morning. She was sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years of community control for having sex with a 15-year-old boy last fall. She must also register as a Tier 1 sex offender.
She was indicted in January by a Washington County grand jury and she pleaded guilty to the charge in March.
Hendrickson's attorney, Washington County Public Defender Ray Smith, noted she has married a 23-year-old since the incidents occurred with the teenager and her former last name was Sheets. She also used to reside in Marietta.
"She did get married to Kevin Hendrickson on April 20 and he is of age, they are (legally) married and she does have a 2-year-old son," Smith said.
Smith added that his client does not have a criminal record and she is at "low risk to re-offend."
"Her record consists of a speeding ticket, that's all. She does not have a drug or alcohol problem. She does have a high school education and got a 3.0 GPA," Smith said.
Smith said Hendrickson met the boy online through a dating service which requires that users be 18-years-old, which is why she was misled to think he was legally an adult.
"Initially she thought he was 18 then realized he was younger than that but the relationship continued," Smith said. "The victim's mom was aware of the relationship and was not objecting to the relationship."
Smith added that Hendrickson has "moved on" from the teenager with whom she had sex.
"She did find out some things about him that scared her... so she didn't want to expose her child to that situation, either," Smith said.
Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider noted that his office was asked to charge Hendrickson with a misdemeanor rather than a felony, but that would not have been an appropriate charge considering the seriousness of the crime.
"We didn't want to treat it as a misdemeanor because it is serious for adults to have sex with people they know are between 13 and 16 years of age," he said. "There was never any allegation or any indication that the juvenile was not a willing participant - he always was - but it's still wrong and is punishable under Ohio law."
Lane told Hendrickson she does not have to serve her 90-day jail sentence at one time.
"Because you have a young child I will let you do it at intermittent times as long as you show up when I tell you," he said.
Lane asked her whether she'd rather be in jail over the weekend or during the week.
"I'd prefer weekends," Hendrickson replied while crying.
Lane ordered her to report to the Washington County Jail by 6 p.m. Friday evenings and said she will be released at 6 a.m. Monday mornings.
There was no one in court Thursday representing the victim. Hendrickson's family members declined to comment.