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Thursday, October 5th, 2017

Ex-high school band assistant gets 15 years

Sentenced on sex charges

By Ed Gebert
WAPAKONETA - A former assistant to the Wapakoneta High School band director was sentenced on Wednesday to 15 years in prison for having sexual relations with students.
Broc Hottle, 28, stood in Auglaize County Common Pleas Court for sentencing on five counts of sexual battery, all third-degree felonies.
Hottle admitted to having sexual relationships with multiple female students. He had been indicted on 34 counts of sexual battery in December 2016 and pleaded guilty to five counts in a plea agreement in July. The other charges were dismissed in the plea deal.
"In some respects, it's the closing of these extraordinary circumstances, but the mental, emotional and in some instances, the physical pain occurred due to the actions of the defendant will continue for these victims indefinitely," county prosecutor Edwin Pierce said.
Two victims spoke at the hearing, saying the relationships with Hottle had caused a lot of pain and prevented them from being as close to friends as they had been.
"I will forever have this being on my shoulders, but I've been pushing it away to try and forget," one victim said. "I'm doing this for all the other girls who were affected by this but were unable to speak out."
"He got into their minds," the mother of another victim said.
"The history of the actions of the defendant in this case span a number of years, probably three or four," Pierce said. "Maybe more. We won't know. But these were the acts of a man who ... groomed his victims for the actions that he took with them. I'll submit that we will never know how many victims are out there in this community, but it took the courage of two of these young ladies to come forward and tell their stories as to what happened."
Before retired visiting judge Patricia Ann Cosgrove of Summit County pronounced sentence, Hottle rose to apologize to the victims. Cosgrove stopped him and told him to turn around and face the victims present in the courtroom. Hottle, wearing a gray suit and tie, read a written apology.
"I am truly sorry that I took advantage of my position to become involved with these young ladies. I was wrong and I am sorry. At the time, the only person I cared about was me. I never considered how my actions could impact others," he said.
Defense attorney Andrew Pratt said he thought Hottle's comments were "very candid and insightful" and thought he was "genuinely expressing heartfelt sorrow."
Pierce did not agree.
"His remorse is because he got caught," Pierce commented bluntly.
Cosgrove also doubted Hottle's sincerity, noting the difference between Hottle's words and the answers to questions posed for his presentence investigation report.
"For all your saying your sorry, you're saying that they were willing," Cosgrove said. "How can you say that when you were in a position of authority, you're the mentor? You were their teacher. How could you say that they were willing participants when they were underage teenagers? Explain that answer to me because I don't get it."
"The court finds no genuine remorse on your part," she concluded. "How could you not feel anything for these 16-year-old impressionable children? They are children in our law."
Hottle was sentenced to five years in prison for each of three counts, all to be served concurrently. Two other five-year terms for the remaining counts are to be served consecutively after the others, making the sentence an aggregate of 15 years in prison. Also, he must serve five years of post-release control after being released. He was declared a tier III sexual offender, requiring him to register with law enforcement every 90 days for the rest of his life.
Cosgrove emphasized the victims shared no blame in the incidents.
"First of all, I want you to know, the victims who are here today, it was not your fault," she said. "He was an adult, an assistant to the band director. He was in a position of authority. You trusted him. He cultivated a friendship with you, and he turned that trust against you. He had sexual relationships with 16-year-old students multiple times, multiple victims over a period of multiple years. You are not to blame. He's the adult. He's the one with responsibility. He sucked you in. How could you know he was a wolf in sheep's clothing?"
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