Sheila McLaughlin reports:
One of the region’s most notorious sex offenders was out of prison seven months when he was accused of exposing himself to children again.
Michael Hamblin’s repeated arrests for the same behavior sparked a change in the state law that increased the penalties for a third public indecency charge, increased the offense to a felony, and made it more difficult for suspects to get out on bail.
The latest alleged incident occurred July 17 at Smith Park in Middletown, where Hamblin was accused of exposing himself to a mother and her children and a man and his granddaughter at the docks at the park.
A Butler County grand jury indicted Hamblin Wednesday on a fifth-degree felony charge of public indecency, an offense that carries six months to a year in prison.
He’s already back in state prison for violating parole, a spokesman for Ohio’s prison system said, while he faces the Butler County charge. Hamblin is scheduled to be arraigned at 9 a.m. Aug. 29 before Judge Michael Sage in Butler County Common Pleas Court.
The mother of Nicole Robertson, the West Chester girl after whom the changed state law was named in 2007, is livid that Hamblin was out of prison early.
“You have got to be kidding me. I thought he was in for six years. When is it going to stop? He’s going to hurt somebody,” said Lori Robertson.
Nicole, who was 9 at the time Hamblin exposed himself to her at Kohl’s department store in West Chester in 2005, is entering her sophomore year in high school. Her mother said she was upset by the news that Hamblin allegedly was at it again and that he was out of prison.
Hamblin was in fact sentenced to nearly six years in prison in 2008 when he was found guilty of trying to entice a group of 6- and 7-year-old girls into the woods to look for flying squirrels at Heritage Oak Park in Mason. He was only out of prison six weeks when that happened. Police found a hunting knife, latex gloves and binoculars in Hamblin’s pickup truck.
The late Judge James Heath sent Hamblin to prison for 42 months on four charges of child enticement and tacked on two years and 74 days more for committing the crimes while he was on parole for molesting his 6-year-old niece in Butler County.
That would have put him in prison until January 2014. He also was designated a Tier III sex offender, requiring him to register his address to authorities every 90 days.
However, after Hamblin served the 42 months on the child enticement convictions, the state public defender filed a motion to toss out the additional portion of the sentence because a Butler County judge in the prior case had improperly sentenced Hamblin.
That mistake voided the parole portion of the sentence, so Heath could not have given Hamblin the addition time because Hamblin wasn’t technically on parole.
Judge Robert Peeler in Warren County Common Pleas Court agreed and set Hamblin free on Jan. 30, 2012, according to Warren County court records.
Hamblin, who turns 43 on Thursday, has a history of sex offenses that dates back to 1999.
When Hamblin was sentenced for the child enticement incidents in Mason, he also had a charge pending in Monroe for exposing himself to two 9-year-old girls in a community park.
A year after the incident involving Nicole Robertson, Hamblin exposed himself to a 10-year-old girl inside the Deerfield Township Wal-Mart in Warren County while he was enrolled in a treatment program at a halfway house in 2006.
Hamblin’s father, a former pastor from St. Clair Township, also is a registered sex offender. According to a Middletown police report, Hamblin was living at his father’s home when he was arrested in July.