Student sentenced to two years in prison in slumber party sexual assault case

Photo by Shane Flannigan

Summer Kent Stater Staff

A Kent State student was sentenced last week for sexually assaulting two 14-year-old girls during a slumber party in February.

Benjamin Schwartz, a 20-year-old sophomore biotechnology major, pleaded guilty in June to importuning, gross sexual imposition and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor — a fifth-degree felony, third-degree misdemeanor and first-degree misdemeanor, respectively. Schwartz was a chaperone at the party, according to police.

Kent State administrators did not say whether any punitive action against Schwartz has been taken by the university, but Shay Little, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, said the university can take action for any violation of the Code of Conduct by current students.

“In general, it is the case that sometimes if a student is arrested off campus or there is some kind of inappropriate behavior, that can be reported back to the Office of Student Conduct, and we will initiate that conduct process,” Little said. “That review and process, of course, is separate from any criminal process that may or may not happen.”

Judge John Enlow of Portage County Municipal Court sentenced Schwartz to nine months in county jail for importuning, 60 days for gross sexual imposition and 180 days for unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. Schwartz must also register as a Tier I sex offender, with five years of mandatory probation following his release.

A Tier I sex offender is required to register once every 12 months for a period of 15 years under Ohio law.

Schwartz allegedly attacked the girls during the afternoon and early morning of Feb. 16 and 17. He was able to separate them from other juveniles in the Kent home, according to police.

Schwartz reported to Portage County Jail on Monday. He didn’t have any prior criminal history.