SIDNEY — A three-day trial in Shelby County Common Pleas Court was canceled Tuesday morning when the defendant agreed to a plea bargain.
Paul D. Schuller pleaded guilty to one charge of gross sexual imposition and one charge of attempted gross sexual imposition. Schuller was originally indicted in March 2017 on one count of rape, a first-degree felony, and 13 counts of gross sexual imposition, felonies of the third and fourth degrees. All of the charges were involving a female child, who was 11-years-old at the time of the first alleged crime.
The alleged rape and four of the instances of gross sexual imposition were said to have occurred in Shelby County within the time period of July 20, 2010, and Sept. 16, 2012, according to court documents. The remainder were said to have occurred in Auglaize County within the time period of Sept. 27, 2012, and Sept. 17, 2013.
According to Shelby County Prosecutor Tim Sell, the alleged victim had confided in her sister, who then reported the claims to police in January of 2017. After an investigation into the claims by Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office, an indictment was filed in Shelby County on March 30, 2017, as well as a warrant for Schuller’s arrest.
Schuller was subsequently arrested and taken into custody the same day, but was released three days later on bond. He appeared in Shelby County court for arraignment on April 6, during which he pleaded “not guilty” to all charges.
Schuller and his counsel made several requests for the continuance of his trial dates due to scheduling conflicts, as well as issues with the collection and preparation of evidence for his defense, all according to documents submitted by Schuller’s lawyer.
Commencement of the trial and selection of the jury had been scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 6, at 8:30 a.m. The prosecutor and defendant’s counsel met with Judge James Stevenson in his chambers for over an hour before jurors were informed that the defendant had accepted a plea deal. The judge thanked the jurors for their attendance and patience before dismissing them and adjourning.
According to Sell, Schuller pleaded guilty to one count of gross sexual imposition, a third-degree felony, and one count of attempted gross sexual imposition, a fourth-degree felony, in exchange for the dismissal of the remaining charges.
Sell said the sentencing hearing will be held in about six weeks, but no specific date has been set as of yet.
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