A convicted sex offender and Worthington resident accused of attempting to lure children into his car in central Ohio this month has been indicted on five criminal charges.
A Franklin County grand jury today, Aug. 25, has indicted Jonathan Ringel, 25, of Annagladys Court.
Ringel faces one count of importuning, a second-degree felony, two counts of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, fourth-degree felonies, and two counts of criminal child-enticement, first-degree misdemeanors.
In a news release, Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien said Ringel has been “trolling neighborhoods in our county for weeks and has been making sexual advances towards pre-teen girls.”
According to the release, the importuning charge was added because Ringel "has a prior conviction for various sexually oriented offenses involving children."
According to Worthington police Sgt. Jim Moran, Ringel allegedly approached a pair of girls Aug. 13 in the 300 block of East North Street and attempted to lure them into his car, described by police as a gray hatchback-style vehicle.
The girls “fled into the home” to report the incident to their parents, who called police.
However, the initial enticement charge was dropped during Ringel’s Aug. 16 arraignment because he was charged under a statute that the Ohio Supreme Court had ruled unconstitutional in State v. Romage in 2014, according to Moran.
On Aug. 17, however, the Columbus Division of Police charged Ringel with a fourth-degree felony count of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, according to Franklin County Municipal Court documents.
The specific charge covers instances when a person sells, offers or presents in the vicinity of a juvenile “obscene or harmful” material.
Ringel was accused of “masturbating in front of” two 10-year-old girls near Case and Sawmill roads in Columbus, according to the Columbus police Twitter account.
Ringel, a registered sex offender who was convicted in a Virginia court in 2015 for taking indecent liberties with minors and one count of possession of child pornography, was charged while he was in the custody of the Worthington Division of Police.
Ringel is scheduled to be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 30, in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.