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Campbell pleads not guilty to charge

Defense Attorney Rolf Baumgartel takes notes while his client, Joshua Campbell, listens to Washington County Common Pleas Judge John Halliday on Wednesday during Campbell’s arraignment. (Photo by Michele Newbanks)

A 20-year-old Marietta man accused of having unlawful sexual conduct with a minor pleaded not guilty Wednesday in the Washington County Court of Common Pleas.

Joshua Lee Campbell, of 102 Summit Road, was indicted Feb. 17 on the fourth-degree felony after an investigation from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office into him sending nudity-oriented material to a subject under the age of 18.

If convicted, Campbell could be sentenced to six to 18 months in prison and a possible $5,000 fine. He would also be listed as a Tier II sex offender and would have to register with the sheriff’s office for the next 25 years.

Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Joe Derkin said Campbell was to have no contact with the girl or the Boys and Girls Clubs of Washington County, where Campbell formerly worked as the IT director.

In a statement from Becca Johnson, Boys and Girls Clubs executive director, she remarked “the safety and protection of the young people we serve is always our number one priority, and we take any allegation that might impact their well-being very seriously.”

She said the organization learned of the recent arrest and indictment of a former staff member.

“Upon learning this information, the club acted immediately by terminating this individual and barring them from all club facilities and programs,” Johnson’s statement noted. “At this time, we are cooperating fully with authorities involved in the investigation and legal process.

“Crimes of abuse run counter to everything our mission stands for, and there is no place in our clubs for anyone who might cause harm to a child, under any circumstances.”

The statement continues, “our organization is committed to the highest level of ethical standards and integrity, and does not tolerate inappropriate or illegal behavior on the part of any club staff, volunteer or youth member. All employees and volunteers must undergo a comprehensive criminal background check prior to hire and annually, and all supervisory policies are designed to ensure the maximum safety and protection of club members and staff.”

Johnson said any further comment on the matter will be withheld with respect for the safety and privacy of the youth involved.

Derkin said Campbell was to have no contact with the girl, but was seen by his case officer with her at a restaurant.

“He’s since put on Facebook that she’s his girlfriend and he gave her a promise ring,” Derkin said.

Defense Attorney Rolf Baumgartel said the case had been dismissed, so the no contact order was also dismissed.

He added Campbell was at the restaurant with his parents, the girl and her guardian of seven years, her maternal grandmother. The grandmother has given her permission for the two to date.

“She’s very much in approval of them being together,” Baumgartel said.

There is no law against a 20-year-old and a 15-year-old dating without sexual contact, he noted.

“What do we expect when two people are dating?” Derkin asked.

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