Indiana man with limited understanding pleads guilty to Allen County sex charge

J Swygart, The Lima News, Ohio
·2 min read

Feb. 22—LIMA — An Indiana man with admitted learning deficiencies who reportedly had sexual contact with a 15-year-old boy struggled to understand the proceedings in his case Monday in Allen County Common Pleas Court.

Judge Terri Kohlrieser likewise struggled to assure herself that the change-of-plea hearing for Douglas Obendorf should go forward.

Obendorf admitted several times that he was "confused about what was going on." The ninth-grade dropout and former special education student said he had difficulty reading the English language and exhibited mental obstacles during Monday's hearing.

At one point, Kohlrieser ordered a brief recess to allow Obendorf to confer with his attorney, Chima Ekeh, in private. The judge used that time to review a competency report that had been prepared on the defendant last fall.

Upon returning to the courtroom, Ekeh assured the judge his client wished to move forward. Kohlrieser said her review of the competency exam performed at the Forensic Psychiatry Center of Western Ohio in Dayton assured her the defendant "is capable of understanding what is happening today."

Obendorf, 35, of Auburn, Indiana, pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a third-degree felony. He faces one to five years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine on the charge.

In September, an Allen County grand jury also charged Obendorf with attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a felony of the fourth degree. Prosecutors agreed to dismiss that charge in exchange for Obendorf's plea.

According to court records, on Aug. 13 deputies were dispatched to the 4600 block of North Napoleon Road and spoke to the mother of the 15-year-old male victim. The woman said that when she walked into her bathroom, she observed the victim and Obendorf with their shorts and underwear pulled down to their knees.

The investigating officer spoke with the young boy, who admitted performing oral sex on Obendorf. When another officer arrived he reportedly found Obendoft in the back yard of the residence "staring aimlessly with his penis in his hand," according to court documents.

During a jailhouse interview, Obendorf said he was preparing to take a shower when the juvenile came into the room, grabbed his penis and placed it in his mouth. Obendorf told the officer he pulled away from the victim.

The victim, however, claimed it was Obendorf who initiated the sexual contact and attempted to perform anal sex with the teenager.

Obendorf will be sentenced April 17.