Dayton Daily News

Georgia conviction complicate­s man’s sex offender status

Brothers must continue to register even after probation ends in 2023.

- By Lawrence Budd Staff Writer

Questions about how Ohio authoritie­s will handle a former traveling pastor who has been designated a sex offender in Georgia continue to cloud resolution of the 2012 case.

Paul Jason Brothers, convicted of sexual battery against a 14-yearold girl in 2012 in Towns County, Georgia, has to register as a sex offender through 2034 in Ohio, according to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

“That would make things a lot better,” the victim’s mother said Friday, while indicating she had been advised otherwise by authoritie­s in Georgia.

The conviction in Georgia stems from a sexual encounter between Brothers, a traveling pastor who uses a wheelchair because of multiple sclerosis, and the victim, who has a congenital heart defect, at her home in Hiawassee, Georgia, in October 2012, according to reports.

Brothers, now 40, registered as a Tier 1 sex offender on July 25 with the Warren County Sheriff ’s Office in Lebanon, eight days after he was found guilty on two counts of sexual battery against a child under 16, was sentenced to 10 years on probation and fined $1,000 in Towns County.

In the sentence, N. Stanley Gunter, chief judge of the Enotah Judicial District in Georgia, also designated Brothers a sex offender.

Because Brothers served six years on house arrest at his family’s Warren County home while the case was pending, his probation will end on Aug. 22, 2023, according to Stuart Stovall, chief probation officer in the Enotah Judicial District in southern Georgia.

Authoritie­s in both states expressed uncertaint­y about

how the sex offender registrati­on portion of Broth- ers’ sentence, ordered in Georgia, would be carried out in Ohio.

On Friday, Steve Irwin, senior public informatio­n officer for the office of Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, said Brothers will have to continue reporting for 15 years a nd comply with other provisions of Ohio’s sex offender law, even after his probation ends in four years in Georgia.

“The registrati­on date is independen­t from the probation,” Irwin said.

In addition, under Ohio law, Irwin said, Brothers’ registrati­on requiremen­t would be extended if he was “incarcerat­ed” while subject to the requiremen­t.

The victim’s mother expressed relief after learn- ing about the AG’s interpre- tation of Brothers’ registra- tion requiremen­t.

“From the very beginning, I wanted him listed as a sex offender so that he wouldn’t be able to harm anyone else,” she said. “Our ultimate goal in this was that he would never be able to harm some- one else the way he harmed my daughter.”

The mother expressed surprise, indicating she had been advised by authoritie­s in Georgia that Brothers could apply to end the sex offender registrati­on once his term of probation was completed.

“Then he gets to return to his normal life,” she said, indicating her family felt the victim was too sick to make it through a trial seven years after the incident.

After the sentencing, Eno- tah District Attorney Jeff Langley expressed concerns about trying the case, noting the time that had passed and the effect this could have on witness memories.

Langley could not be reached for comment Friday.

Brothers was sentenced according to a plea bargain worked out between Lang- ley and the defense lawyer, Georgia State House Speaker David Ralston.

Brothers was placed on house arrest after rape, stat- utory rape, aggravated child molestatio­n, child molestatio­n and simple assault charges were filed in 2013.

The case, pending through at least eight delays, was the last of four cases Ralston said he would close out before taking on any more clients charged with crimes, following an investigat­ion by the Atlanta Journal-Constituti­on and Channel 2 Action News in Atlanta.

“Our case was seven years old and never got to go to trial,” the victim’s mother said Friday.

By the time the allega- tions were made, Brothers had returned to his home in Massie Twp., Warren County.

In response to a request by Georgia authoritie­s, two Warren County Sheriff ’s Office detectives questioned Broth- ers, without a lawyer pres- ent, according to records obtained by this newspaper.

During a 90-minute inter- view, Brothers told the detectives he met the victim’s family through a local pastor who had been a seminary schoolmate on mission trips and visits to the area, sometimes to preach himself.

The interview transcript indicates Brothers eventually admitted to being sexually aroused and in a “heavy elongated embrace” with the victim, but denied the alleged sex or assault.

“If what you want me to tell you is what happened, I’ve done that. Other than that, I can’t tell you anymore,” Brothers said in concluding remarks.

Warren County Sheriff ’s Office Detective Brandi Carter had been expected to testify at any trial.

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Paul Jason Brothers

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