McCartney ruled competent

Accused child sex offender James McCartney has been deemed competent to stand trial, according to documents filed Thursday in Highland County Common Pleas Court.

McCartney, 61, of the Rocky Fork Lake area, is charged with multiple counts of child sex offenses.

He was indicted on April 6 by a Highland County grand jury on one count of trafficking in persons, a first-degree felony, with the indictment alleging that he willingly knew the person involved was under the age of 16 and was being trafficked for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity for hire.

The remaining 15 counts in his indictment charge him with pandering obscenity involving a minor, all felonies of the fourth-degree.

Court records state that on April 20, McCartney requested a psychiatric evaluation through his attorney in order to assess his competency to stand trial.

The next day, Judge Rocky Coss signed an order directing the Forensic Evaluation Service Center of Hamilton to conduct an evaluation of his mental competency at the Highland County Jail.

At an evaluation hearing held Wednesday in Highland County Common Pleas Court, Coss ruled that based on McCartney’s evaluation, he was deemed competent to stand trial and his case was restored to the active docket.

McCartney’s troubles began with his arrest on Monday, March 1 after a female acquaintance revealed graphic Facebook messages to Highland County Sheriff’s deputies, according to an affidavit filed with the Hillsboro Municipal Court.

A complaint and arrest warrant from Hillsboro Municipal Court was then filed against McCartney, alleging that between Feb. 25-26, 2021, he “did knowingly attempt to recruit, lure, entice, harbor, transport, provide, obtain, or maintain another person,” when he knew that the other person “will be subjected to involuntary servitude or be compelled to engage in sexual activity for hire.”

The complaint further alleged that McCartney’s motivation was to procure a young girl and to have her “engage in a performance that is obscene, sexually oriented, or nudity oriented, or be a model or participant in the production of material that is obscene, sexually oriented or nudity oriented.”

The affidavit stated that the woman who reported the incident and her brother came to the sheriff’s office on the evening of Feb. 25 with information regarding McCartney’s alleged solicitation to her via Facebook to obtain a young girl for sexual activity.

She provided a deputy with the Facebook messages she had received, which stated in graphic detail what he intended to do with the girl.

The affidavit went on to state that while in the lobby of the justice center, the woman took it upon herself to call McCartney and record the conversation, a copy of which is in the case file.

In the phone call, McCartney is alleged to have told the woman to get him a girl “as young as you can,” with the woman replying “the younger the better?” and that she would get back to him.

At what was to be a preliminary hearing in Hillsboro Municipal Court March 9, McCartney’s court-appointed attorney waived the hearing and requested that Judge David McKenna send the case over to a Highland County grand jury.

Court records show that McCartney had a prior conviction in Clinton County Common Pleas Court for pandering obscenity and pandering obscenity with a minor.

He also was convicted on a charge of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor in the state of California.

That conviction placed him on the Sex Offender Registry as a lifetime registrant, and he is currently listed as a Pre-AWA (Adam Walsh Act) Sexual Predator in the state of Ohio.

A Wednesday entry in Highland County Common Pleas Court stated that McCartney was scheduled for a pretrial hearing at 1 p.m. Thursday, June 17, with a trial slated for 8 a.m. Monday, July 12.

Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.

James McCartney (left) is pictured at a recent hearing before Hillsboro Municipal Court. At right is Highland County Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Thompson. McCartney (left) is pictured at a recent hearing before Hillsboro Municipal Court. At right is Highland County Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Thompson. Tim Colliver | The Times-Gazette
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