SIDNEY — Shelby County Juvenile/Probate Judge Bill Zimmerman Sr. talked about juvenile offenders when he address the Sidney Rotary Club, recently.
Zimmerman spoke of the drug problem in Shelby County. He noted that so far this year, 16 babies have been born with drug addiction. This is due to the mothers’ using drugs while pregnant. He also said that children are being charged as sex offenders.
“It is not uncommon for girls and boys as young as 12 or 13 years old being charged,” Zimmerman said. The youngest sex offender he processed was 8 years old.
There are several programs being used to help juvenile offenders, he added. One is a community garden behind the Alpha Center. The youngsters grow crops and when harvested, they make salsa. The court also has adopted a stretch of highway and the youths help pick up trash; however this also has its drawbacks, as a loaded gun was once found.
Assistant County Prosecutor Bill Zimmerman Jr. discussed the prosecutor’s office. He is the chief criminal attorney. Other attorneys handle juvenile delinquents, children’s services cases and county civil matters by assisting the county commissioners and the township trustees.
In years past, most drug charges resulted from cocaine use and then meth. Now, 90 percent of the drug cases are heroin related, he said.