BUTLER, Ind. (WANE) - A Butler man is facing felony charges for sexual misconduct with a minor, child molestation and misdemeanor charges of tattooing a minor.
Police said Jason Schwartz, 29, committed sex crimes throughout four months against more than 10 girls, that range from 13 to 16 years of age.
It was March when DeKalb County Sheriff's Department Detective Adam Friedel first interviewed Schwartz as part of a separate, unrelated, case.
"I started investigating him because some of his answers to my questions were a little off," the detective said.
Schwartz was initially arrested in June for sexual misconduct with a minor. An ensuing investigation led police to find much more.
It began when the detective noticed Schwartz's Facebook profile. The man ended up having three separate accounts.
"I noticed he had about 150 friends," Friedel said. "And 90 percent of them were teenage girls."
The charge in June gave police a chance to interview a victim who gave police other potential interviews.
At the end of the investigation, police had interviewed close to 30 girls under the age of 18.
"I don't think this is different than another county," Friedel said. "Granted it is a large case, and it's shocking and very disturbing, but I don't think we're different than anywhere else. I think this is going on a lot."
Friedel said there would have been no case if it wasn't for the help of the DeKalb County Department of Child Services. The office assigned Becky Honn to help with Friedel's case.
"This case wouldn't be put together without Becky," Friedel said. "It's hard for a 14 or 15-year-old girls to talk to a 37-year-old man about these type of things. She made it calming for the girls knowing they had another woman in the room."
In Friedel's opinion, Honn worked as a detective along with him. She was a part of every interview Friedel conducted, and some interviews Honn did by herself.
The work between the two helped prosecutors come up with 22 charges against Schwartz.
The 28-page probable cause affidavit goes over the charges Schwartz faces in detail.
The document states Schwartz had sexual intercourse with multiple girls, had given them tattoos, received and sent naked pictures, and details more inappropriate behavior and communication with minors.
The most recent incident outlined happened on June 13, the day Schwartz was arrested. He was arrested for having sex with a 15-year-old outside the house he was living in.
According to the affidavit, another underage girl interviewed in the case said "Schwartz told her he liked younger girls because they are more flexible, easy going, and don't put up as much of a fight as someone older would."
Friedel, who led the four-month investigation, said Schwartz was able to initiate contact with a lot of his victims by offering them tattoos.
"He was kind of a bad boy, and he liked to portray that to do portray that to a lot of these girls," Friedel said. "He was very charismatic and he's very manipulative and he would offer them tattoos. At first, he would offer them at a really cheap cost. $10, or $15 for really large tattoos. By the time the tattoo was done, he wanted sex."
According to documents, an interviewee said Schwartz had given her a tattoo when she was 13 and that "[a]fterward, he demanded that she have sex with him or he would tell her mom. He also threatened to beat her up, punch or kill her."
Among Schwartz faces 22 charges altogether:
- 5 counts of sexual misconduct with a minor; class B felony
- 1 count child molesting; class A felony
- 3 counts attempted child molesting; class A felony
- 2 counts child solicitation; class C felony
- 1 count child exploitation; class C felony
- 2 counts robbery; class C felony
- 3 counts tattooing a minor; misdemeanor
- 1 count possession of child pornography; class D felony
- 2 counts dissemination of matter harmful to minors; class D felony
- 1 count inappropriate communication with a child; misdemeanor
- 1 count intimidation; misdemeanor
He pleaded not guilty to these charges during a hearing in DeKalb County Superior Court on Wednesday, Cot. 3.
Schwartz was on parole when he was arrested and has been previously convicted of two felony charges; one for burglary in 2001 and one for battery in 2009.
As of Wednesday evening, Schwartz was in the DeKalb County Jail on no bond. He is scheduled to make his next court appearance on November 21.
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