Published: Sunday, November 5, 2006
Officials examining images found on sex offender's phone
The photos were taken shortly before the offender was sentenced.
LISBON A child sex offender the 7th District Court of Appeals ruled should not go to prison is again under investigation.
Authorities say they have found 51 graphic images of women engaging in sex on the cell phone of Paul Ice, 38, of Negley.
One of the images, "depicts a female of questionable age" having sex with a man, according to a search warrant issued Friday by Judge David Tobin of Columbiana County Common Pleas Court.
Another photo shows two minor girls in clothes sitting on a trampoline.
Ice was charged in 2005 with videotaping himself having sex with a 16-year-old girl. He dubbed small portions of the tape onto commercial videos he had rented at the Giant Eagle grocery store in East Liverpool and returned the tapes.
Ice pleaded guilty in a plea agreement. Judge Tobin, who handled Ice's case, sentenced him to 15 months in prison on two felony counts of pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor, and one count of voyeurism, a misdemeanor.
Judge Tobin imposed the sentence even though several people testified that Ice should be placed on community control for rehabilitation. Judge Tobin noted that Ice at one time had been a wrestling coach.
Appeals court ruling
In March 2006, the 7th District Court of Appeals concluded that Judge Tobin's decision to impose a prison term instead of community control "was not supported by the record." The court cited the court's "faulty rationale" in imposing a prison sentence and noted testimony given in Ice's defense regarding his amenability to community control.
Appeals Court Judge Mary DeGenaro wrote, "Ice agreed, and we tend to agree, that the age of the victim, who happened to be sixteen, should not affect his sentence as her age is an element of the crime and is very near the age of majority."
The opinion said Ice's work as a coach was not part of the crime and shouldn't be considered in the sentencing.
Appeals court Judges Joseph J. Vukovich and Cheryl L. Waite agreed with the opinion.
Judge Tobin resentenced Ice on Oct. 2, 2006, to five years of community control, which included 180 days at the Eastern Ohio Corrections Center in Wintersville. The judge found that Ice is a sexually oriented offender.
Court records show that Ice last week asked corrections center officials for a furlough to visit the dentist. He left the facility early Wednesday and returned the same morning.
But Ice left a pickup truck at the facility, saying he expected to soon have a work release. The center's policies call for a search of any unauthorized vehicle.
During the search, officials found Ice's cell phone and discovered the photos.
A search warrant was then issued in Columbiana County for the phone.
Authorities will now try to determine the names and ages of the women in the photos.
Court records indicate the images on the cell phone were created between Sept. 19 and Oct. 1, 2006.