CINCINNATI — A Franklin man whom prosecutors say is a serial sexual predator was on Wednesday sentenced to 35 years in prison for sedating a toddler with cough medicine so he could take photos and film himself abusing her.
Federal prosecutors asked U.S. District Court Chief Judge Susan Dlott to watch the videos that Jason Fletcher, 41, took of the crying 2-year-old girl before she sentenced him.
“The defendant is an unrepentant, untreatable sexual predator," Assistant U.S. Attorney Megan Gaffney wrote in a sentencing memorandum. "The public must be protected from him. If the defendant is released from prison, he will sexually abuse children.”
Fletcher’s long history “of sexually perverse behavior” began at age 13 when he peeped into bedrooms and bathrooms to watch others urinate and undress. Fletcher’s 18-year-old brother at one point reported to police that Fletcher had sexually abused him daily since age 11, Gaffney wrote in the memorandum.
At age 35, Fletcher sent a text to a 13-year-old girl asking for oral sex. He was convicted in Warren County of importuning and classified as a sex offender in 2013.
“Also at age 35, the defendant masturbated in front of children and was convicted of public indecency and endangering children,” Gaffney wrote. “At the age of 38, he had sexual contact with a 13-year-old and was charged with sexual imposition – that case is still pending and there is an open warrant for him.”
Fletcher’s probation officer uncovered he most recent case involving the sedated toddler when he examined his cell phone during a May 2017 visit before his sex offender treatment class.
After discovering the pornography, the probation officer contacted the Warren County Sheriff’s Department.
Detective Brandi Carter testified that Fletcher’s phone contained child pornography videos that he had downloaded from the internet. She also found the video of the sedated toddler and another video of Fletcher molesting a different sleeping child.
She testified that she has helped investigate numerous criminal cases against Fletcher that involved sexual behavior with minors since 2012.
In November 2017, Fletcher was sentenced to 10 years in prison in Warren County for possession of the child pornography he had downloaded, including videos of adults involved in sex acts with infants and toddlers.
Afterward deputies turned over evidence of the homemade child pornography videos to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for prosecution at the federal level.
In December 2017, a federal grand jury in Cincinnati indicted Fletcher and his cousin Ciera Richter, 26, for conspiracy to produce child pornography and production of child pornography. Richter was also charged with selling a child.
Prosecutors say Fletcher offered to pay Richter for access to her 2-year-old niece while she babysat the child in her Dayton home in February 2017.
Fletcher brought cough medicine to sedate the child, and took photos of her while she was naked after a bath. He also filmed himself touching the crying toddler and took more videos of himself touching her while she slept, according to Gaffney’s memorandum.
Richter, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to produce child pornography, testified against Fletcher in court on Friday.
She testified that when she was 12 or 13 years old, that Fletcher drugged her and raped her while she was unconscious. He drugged and sexually assaulted her again a year later when she was 13 or 14.
“He’s a very aggressive man, very aggressive,” Richter testified.
Richter testified that she was using marijuana and methamphetamines on the night that Fletcher assaulted the toddler but denied being paid for access to her niece or helping to hold the girl down while Fletcher touched her.
“If I wasn’t high or getting high, this would have never happened,” testified Richter, who will be sentenced March 20.
Dlott found Fletcher guilty of both charges after a bench trial on June 11, 2018.
Fletcher’s attorney, Ty Foster, had tried to argue that his client deserved a lesser sentence.
Fletcher was taken away from his drug-addicted mother at a young age and placed in foster care, according to Foster. He had been sexually and physically abused at a young age and was molested by an older man at age 12. Foster described his client as a “sexual voyeur,” and not a sexual predator, as prosecutors claimed.
“He is certainly not the worst of the offenders which this court has seen,” Foster wrote in his sentencing memorandum.
Prosecutors saw it differently.
“The defendant’s entire life has been defined by stealing sexual gratification from the most vulnerable,” Gaffney wrote.