Updated Thu, Mar 20, 2014 7:04 am
An Athens woman at the forefront of a prostitution investigation has pleaded guilty and will spend the next five years in prison. The plea came with the understanding that she would testify against a registered sex offender who is not currently charged in the investigation.
Aileen Mays, 27, appeared in Athens County Common Pleas Court and changed her innocent plea to that of guilty on two cases. She pleaded guilty to compelling prostitution, a second-degree felony, and was sentenced to five years in prison with the understanding that she not apply for early judicial release. Mays also pleaded guilty to an unrelated theft case for which she received a concurrent sentence of one year. She’ll also be required to register as a Tier II sex offender for 25 years.
Mays was arrested after an investigation by the Athens County Sheriff’s Office and Athens County Children Services found that a 16-year-old girl was taken by Mays to the home of Fred Kittle, who is a registered sex offender, and was initially charged in the case.
In addition to agreeing not to apply for judicial release during her sentence, Mays said she would testify against Kittle.
Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn told the court Wednesday that the initial reason Mays and the female went to Kittle’s home, on Rocky Point Road, was to rob him.
“After getting there, an offer of money for sex was made to the defendant (by Kittle),” Blackburn said. “Mr. Kittle offered them additional money if the victim in this case, the 16-year-old, would have sex with him.”
Kittle and the juvenile allegedly had sex twice, according to Blackburn, and Mays had sex with him once. While the juvenile and Kittle were engaged in sexual acts, Mays was using drugs in the kitchen.
“She clearly has a drug problem,” Blackburn told the court. “She may be 27 years by age, but she is definitely not 27 years with the ability to make solid decision and do what’s right.”
Mays was reportedly the stepmother of the victim, Blackburn said, but defense attorney Bill Biddlestone said she had not been her stepmother for some time. Mays and the juvenile’s father divorced “a long time ago,” Biddlestone said.
“Mays...has never really been (the juvenile’s) mother, practically speaking,” Biddlestone told the court.
Blackburn acknowledged that a difficult part for the state would have been proving Mays forced or compelled the 16-year-old to perform the actions.
“The 16-year-old victim...I wouldn’t say was a completely willing participant, but the issue is the proof of force considering there were two separate incidents,” Blackburn said.
When asked by Judge L. Alan Goldsberry whether the victim had been contacted about the plea agreement, Blackburn said attempts to contact her through children services were unsuccessful, but that going through with the deal was best for her.
“There are intimate details...involving (the victim’s) mental status,” Blackburn said. “I would say in the best interest of the victim, limiting the number of times she has to testify is appropriate to make this deal work…”
Biddlestone said investigators for the defense have heard “conflicting” statements from the victim about what happened, including statements different from Blackburn’s presentation of the facts.
“That’s one version of what happened,” Biddlestone said, referring to a statement by Blackburn. “There’s been a couple of versions (given).”
Although he declined to say whether a timeline or charges have been established in the Kittle case, Blackburn said a large sentence is not likely.
“Fred Kittle, being a previous sex offender, is of great concern to the state,” Blackburn said. “However, given the status of the law and the wisdom of the General Assembly, Mr. Kittle only faces a maximum sentence here of four and a half years if convicted of the charges as charged against him in municipal court.”
Kittle was charged in October with compelling prostitution and importuning in Athens Municipal Court, but those charges were dismissed. Blackburn has maintained that the prosecutor’s office has continued to investigate his case since he was arrested.
After the sentencing Wednesday, Biddlestone said there was no appeal planned in Mays’ case.
A Glouster woman charged with compelling the prostitution of a 16-year-old is scheduled to change her plea on Wednesday.
Aileen Mays, 27, was charged in Athens County Common Pleas Court with compelling prostitution and trafficking in persons after Athens County Children Services received information on Sept. 23 that a 16-year-old was allegedly being used as a prostitute in exchange for money and drugs.
Mays has pleaded innocent to the allegations and is incarcerated in the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail on a $200,000 bond with 10 percent allowed while she awaits the resolution of her case.
Court records indicated that she will change her plea on Wednesday.
Mays allegedly told law enforcement that she had received drugs in exchange for the girl performing sex acts with Fred Kittle Sr., 69, a registered sex offender.
Kittle was originally charged with compelling prostitution and importuning, but his case was dismissed in Athens Municipal Court. Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said the investigation remains open in Kittle’s case.
No further charges have been filed and a search warrant on Kittle’s Rocky Point Road home was never executed, according to court records.
The defense and the prosecution have been in negotiations in the case since her arrest, but no plea agreements have been brokered. Attorneys acknowledged that offers had been brought to the table, but any proposed agreements had been turned down.
Mays’ defense attorney Bill Biddlestone twice fought for and won the right to have an investigator funded for the defense. Judge L. Alan Goldsberry granted a December request that $1,500 in public funds be released to aid the defense, and again in February, he granted the release of $1,000.
In the February hearing, Biddlestone said he felt the evidence in the case had “very much weakened” and said he didn’t believe the prosecution could prove the human trafficking charge “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Assistant County Prosecutor Rob Driscoll said the evidence “weighs strongly” in the case and wanted Mays to remain in jail “frankly, for the safety of society.”