Erotica vs. porn: State, defense battle over evidence in Dayton child psychologist’s case

Greg Ramey
Greg Ramey

A dispute about if evidence should be allowed in a former Dayton Children’s Hospital psychologist’s child pornography case continues in Greene County Common Pleas Court.

An attorney for Gregory Ramey and attorneys at the Ohio Attorney General’s Office have filed court documents arguing whether evidence gathered via search warrants should be allowed and whether images Ramey allegedly possessed are child pornography.

A judge previously denied Ramey’s request to throw out evidence in the case, saying that the defense failed to meet its burden to show there was insufficient probable cause or particularity in each search warrant. In his ruling, Judge Stephen Wolaver wrote that the search warrants began with information collected by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

“The information provided to affiant include identification of images of children ages 6-12 in a state of ‘erotica.’ Two search warrants identified AOL accounts and a Gmail account belonging to the defendant associated with the above information with over 100 images downloaded and sent electronically,” the entry says.

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However, defense attorney Jon Paul Rion has since filed a motion to reconsider, arguing that the term ‘erotica’ does not mean child pornography.

“(The affidavit for the search warrant) did not allege any criminal activity; in fact, it dispelled any belief of illegal activity by including (the) findings regarding the downloaded images being mere erotica, not child pornography,” the motion says.

The motion says once officials determined that the images were “merely erotica,” probable cause ended.

“To conclude the affidavit in the present case contained sufficient probable (cause) would be to weaponize, and criminalize, the word erotica and its definition - this would be a drastic change from known, legislative meaning,” the motion says. “This may also have First Amendment implications if such interpretation were to be adopted as law.”

Rion has said in interviews that the images in question are not pornographic. He told the Dayton Daily News on Wednesday that the images are of people who are clothed and that courts have found there’s a difference between erotica and child pornography.

However, in a response to the defense’s reconsideration motion, the state filed its response and argued that the judge does not have the authority to reconsider his ruling. The state also said that a “plain reading of the search warrant blatantly counters defendant’s position.” The state says that the definition of “erotica” and “pornography” overlaps.

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“Given these overlapping definitions, it stretches credulity to believe that the affiant regarding the images depicting 6-12-year-old children in states of erotica to be anything other than pornographic given the verbiage that he used,” the state said.

A ruling on the motions is expected at a later date.

Ramey was a longtime child psychologist at Dayton Children’s Hospital.

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