A former Highland County man who had sex with a juvenile foster child that was in his care was sentenced to 36 months in prison Wednesday by Highland County Common Pleas Court Judge Rocky Coss.
Benjamin J. Wright, 31, of Canal Winchester, formerly of Leesburg, pled guilty to sexual battery, a third-degree felony, on Jan. 24.
He was given nine days of credit Wednesday for time already served in jail, and was ordered to pay court costs.
According to court records, Wright engaged in sexual conduct with a 16-year-old male while the juvenile was living with him in Leesburg in the summer of 2017. Wright was a foster parent to the juvenile at the time, court records said.
Highland County authorities received word in April 2018 from Adams County Children Services that the juvenile told officials about the sexual encounters, according to court records.
Wright was indicted on one count of sexual battery in September 2018.
In law enforcement interviews, Wright at first denied to law enforcement that he had been sexually involved with the juvenile, but later admitted that he had, court documents said. According to the documents, Wright said there were four sexual encounters. Wright told police that he knew what he did was wrong and illegal, but “after discussing the events with a longtime friend, he had learned his lesson,” said a law enforcement affidavit.
Wright said during a previous court hearing that in addition to being a licensed foster parent, he is a licensed teacher in Ohio and other states. Judge Rocky Coss said at the time the state would be notified of his plea and respond accordingly.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.