The Van Wert County Courthouse

Tuesday, Sep. 30, 2014

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Despite an emotional plea from the victim’s father, a man convicted of a felony sex-related charge in connection with a 3-year-old girl was not sent to prison.

Michael Closson, 62, of Delphos, was given five years of community control, including six months in the Van Wert County Correctional Facility, on a charge of gross sexual imposition, a third-degree felony.

Former Delphos businessman Robert Fishbein was in court again on Wednesday, this time on a charge of violating a civil protection order. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

The father of the young girl became emotional at times as he stated his hope that Closson would be sent to prison for a crime he said the man has committed before with his own daughter. “I can’t protect my little girl (from Closson),” the father told the judge.

Judge Charles D. Steele followed information in a presentence investigation is handing down the community control sentence, and also allowed Closson to keep his job through the work release program while in jail.

Closson must also register as a Tier 2 sex offender for the next 25 years and undergo a psychological assessment and treatment. He was also banned from being in the presence of any minor children while unsupervised. A three-year prison sentence was deferred pending completion of community control.

A Van Wert man was also arraigned on three sex-related charges on Wednesday.

George Tromblay, 55, pleaded not guilty to one count each of first-degree felony rape, sexual battery, a second-degree felony, and gross sexual imposition, a felony of the third degree.

Tromblay, who is charged with having sex with someone under the age of 13, was ordered held on a $250,000 cash bond, with a pretrial conference scheduled for 8 a.m. Wednesday, August 25.

Also in court again was former Delphos businessman Robert Fishbein.

Fishbein, 49, who is serving a three-year prison term for intimidation of a witness, pleaded not guilty to a charge of violating a civil protection order, a first-degree misdemeanor, in connection with the earlier case.

Fishbein, formerly president and CEO of I & K Distributing in Delphos, was convicted of intimidating a woman who had left I & K after allegedly threatening to file a sex harassment suit against Fishbein. The former businessman apparently threatened the woman and called her repeatedly, even after being warned to stop.

The case led to Fishbein being fired from his position at I & K, which was later sold to another company.

Although he had retained Lima attorney William Kluge for his original case, Fishbein was assigned, at his request, a public defender for the new charge.

A pretrial conference was scheduled for 8 a.m. July 25.

Others arraigned on Wednesday include the following:

  • Allan Pierce, 44, of Van Wert, pleaded not guilty to a charge of failure to register as a sex offender, a fourth-degree felony, and four counts of violation of a civil protective order, all felonies of the fifth degree. He was ordered held on a $100,000 bond, with 10 percent of that amount to be paid in cash, and a pretrial conference set for 8 a.m. July 25.
  • Michael Hipsley, 27, of Van Wert, entered a not guilty plea to a charge of possession of drugs, a fourth-degree felony. He was released on a personal surety bond and a pretrial conference set for 8 a.m. Wednesday, August 8.
  • Josh Burnett, 34, of Van Wert, pleaded not guilty to one count each of felonious assault, a second-degree felony, and domestic violence, a misdemeanor of the first degree. Bond was not set on Burnett, who is being held on another charge, and a pretrial conference will be held at 8 a.m. July 25.
  • Casey McMillen, 28, of Van Wert, entered a not guilty plea to a charge of possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony. He was released on a surety bond, with a pretrial conference set for 8 a.m. August 8.
  • Dewey Hammons, 46, of Van Wert, pleaded not guilty to a charge of grand theft, a third-degree felony offense. He was released on a surety bond and a pretrial conference scheduled for 8 a.m. Wednesday, August 1.
  • Shawn Thatcher, 34, of Van Wert, entered a not guilty plea to a charge of domestic violence, a fourth-degree felony. He was released on a surety bond, with the added stipulation he have no contact with the alleged victim, and a pretrial conference was set for 8 a.m. August 1.
  • Robert Stoller, 29, of Van Wert, pleaded not guilty to one count of possession of cocaine, a fifth-degree felony offense. He was also released on a surety bond, with a pretrial conference to be held at 8 a.m. August 1.
  • Bobbie Spyres, 19, of Van Wert, entered a not guilty plea to a charge of forgery, a fifth-degree felony. She was released on a surety bond, and a pretrial conference scheduled for 8 a.m. August 1.
  • Caleb Mech, 26, of Van Wert, pleaded not guilty to a charge of aggravated assault, a fourth-degree felony. A $500,000 bond, with 10 percent of that to be paid in cash, was set in the case, and he was ordered to have no contact with his brother, the alleged victim in the case. A pretrial conference was scheduled for 8 a.m. July 25.
  • Jesse Stemen, 23, of Delphos, entered a not guilty plea to a charge of possession of drugs, a felony of the fifth degree. He was released on a surety bond and a pretrial conference set for 8 a.m. August 8.
  • Alexandra Whisman, 18, of Van Wert, pleaded not guilty to a charge of possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony offense. A surety bond was set in the case, and a pretrial conference will be held at 8 a.m. August 8.

Three people also changed their pleas to guilty during hearings on Wednesday.

Rickey Harter, 55, of Spencerville, entered a guilty plea to an amended charge of theft, a first-degree misdemeanor. He was originally charged with a fifth-degree felony count of theft. A presentence investigation was ordered and sentencing set for 9 a.m. August 8.

Nathan Carpenter, 25, of Delphos, pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony, and requested treatment in lieu of conviction, which Judge Steele granted.

Nathaniel Diltz, 29, of Delphos, also entered a guilty plea to a charge of trafficking in counterfeit controlled substances, a fifth-degree felony. Two other charges were dismissed in exchange for his guilty plea. A presentence investigation was ordered and sentencing scheduled for a later date.

Allen McMillen, 29, of Van Wert, also appeared on a bond violation hearing. He denied that he had violated his bond and was ordered held in jail until a hearing can be set on the matter. Judge Steele also said he might consider work released or electronically monitored house arrest in the case.

Also on Wednesday, Nicole Wells, 34, of Convoy, was given three years of community control on a charge of importuning, a fifth-degree felony. The sentence also includes six months in the county jail, with credit for 11 days already served. Wells must also undergo a substance abuse assessment and complete any treatment recommended, and was also ordered to register as a Tier 1 sex offender for the next 15 years.

POSTED: 07/19/12 at 7:02 am. FILED UNDER: News