A Springfield man could face nearly 40 years in prison after he pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges that he sexually assaulted minors in the Springfield Twp. Fire Department’s cadet program, where he served as the training instructor.
Jonathan Scott Monroe, 24, pleaded guilty to charges that included two counts of sexual battery and one count each of gross sexual imposition, compelling prostitution and rape.
If the case went to trial, he faced the possibility of a life sentence, according to his defense attorney Regina Richards. Several other charges were dropped in exchange for the plea agreement.
Clark County Judge Richard O’Neill ordered a pre-sentence investigation and Monroe is scheduled to face a sentencing hearing on Thursday, Feb. 1. He could face as many as 37 years in prison if the sentences are served consecutively, O’Neill said. The rape charge carries a mandatory sentence of at least three years, Richards said, with a maximum of 11 years in prison.
Monroe will also have to register as a sex offender for life and was ordered to remain in the Clark County Jail pending the sentencing hearing.
Court records show Monroe visited the Springfield Police Division in April last year, where he allegedly confessed to sexually assaulting four victims.
Richards said her client was a juvenile at the time some of the offenses occurred. Some of the acts were consensual, she said, but the victims were minors and Monroe came forward in part to prevent the victims from having to testify. He also didn’t want his actions to reflect on the Springfield Twp. fire department, she said.
“Over the course of time, we had some consensual experimentation with some other juveniles and he was also a juvenile,” Richards said. “He never meant to hurt anyone.”
But prosecutors said the potential for a lengthy sentence reflected the seriousness of the crimes. One of the four victims was about 9 years old when the incidents occurred, Clark County Assistant Prosecutor Andrew Picek said. One of the charges was for rape, and Monroe also pleaded guilty to providing money or gifts to one of the victims in exchange for sex, which led to the compelling prosecution charge, Picek said.
“The severity varies based on who the victim is,” Picek said. “One of them, the abuse started when he was 9 years old. There was a short period where (Monroe) may have been 17 but turned 18. But still he would have been 18 and the kid was 9 and then 10. Some of the kids, it went on for a longer period of time. Sometimes it was only once or twice, but you’re looking at a situation where you have four separate victims and that on its own is very serious.”
Because Monroe was an instructor with the fire department, Picek said it’s also similar to a teacher taking advantage of a student.
“We were happy to get a plea where he faces a potential very serious penalty of 37 years in prison,” Picek said.