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April 1, 2014

Indiana man accused of drugging, molesting and tattooing children

AUBURN — A northeastern Indiana man was sentenced to 187 years in prison for allegedly luring underage girls into sex acts with him by throwing alcohol- and drug-fueled parties and giving some of them tattoos.

Jason Schwartz, 31, of Butler, was convicted in early March of 10 felony charges, including child molesting and sexual misconduct with a minor. Authorities say the six girls were 13 to 15 years old when the crimes happened in 2012.

Schwartz didn't testify during Monday's sentencing hearing, but when DeKalb County Judge Monte Brown called him a predator, Schwartz replied "I'm not," The Star of Auburn reported (http://bit.ly/1gjZvFD ).

"I know that's your opinion, but it's not mine," Brown responded.

Several of the girls testified that they attended parties at Schwartz's rural home about 25 miles north of Fort Wayne at which there were alcohol, marijuana and the synthetic drug known as spice. One girl said she had sex with Schwartz in exchange for a tattoo, while another girl who he tattooed said Schwartz asked her for sex, but she refused.

DeKalb County Prosecutor ClaraMary Winebrenner said Schwartz committed the sex crimes against wayward, vulnerable teenage girls.

"He knew how to attract them. And he did — one right after the other," Winebrenner said.

Defense attorney Hugh Taylor said Schwartz continues to maintain his innocence.

Schwartz said he plans to appeal the convictions and sentences.

In two of the child molesting charges, Schwartz was found to be a habitual offender, having two previous unrelated felony convictions for burglary and battery causing bodily injury.

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