Man arrested, charged with soliciting sex from minors in Brown County

Posted at 12:37 AM, Jul 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-12 07:20:34-04

RUSSELVILLE, Ohio -- A Tri-County man was arrested in a sting operation Monday after a pair of teenage boys told police he had solicited them for sex on Saturday in Brown County, authorities said.

Ronald Knechtly, 65, began the encounter by circling a 15-year-old boy and his 14-year-old friend in his car, the 15-year-old told police Monday night.

“Then he came up with his car, threw a note down, and he went up a little bit and stopped,” the boy said. “And he watched me pick it up.”

Police said the note had a phone number on it and was signed with a name that suggested a sexual act.

“I picked up the card and I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t think so,’ so I ran after him and he took off,” the boy said.

He and his friend ran across the street to Samantha Gast, who was doing yard work outside her home.

“I thought the boys were just pulling a nasty joke,” Gast said. “I just never would’ve fathomed that somebody would actually do that."

Despite her reservations, she called police, and an officer called the number on the card.

“He left it vague,” Russellville Police Chief Matt Wertz said. “Didn’t really say he was an officer, but he didn’t really say he was one of the teens he had seen in town.”

Knechtly agreed to meet up with the officer at a local bar, according to police, where he was identified, arrested and charged with importuning, which Ohio law defines as the crime of soliciting sex with a minor.

Knechtly is currently being held in the Brown County jail, and will appear in court again next week.

Records show Knechtly's last known address was in Mount Washington, about one hour west of Russellville. The Russellville Police Department requests anyone with information relevant to this case to call 937-377-9129.