A former Bowling Green business owner has been sentenced to community control after pleading guilty to gross sexual imposition.
Justin Marx, 48, appeared Monday in the courtroom of Wood County Common Pleas Judge Molly Mack.
He had pleaded guilty in September to the amended count of gross sexual imposition, a fourth-degree felony.
It was explained during the plea hearing that on Jan. 10, 2021, the victim was having issues with her boyfriend and went to Bowling Green Beer Works, which Marx at the time owned. As an employee, she could drink there for free.
Marx invited her to his house, where she fell asleep. When she woke up, Marx was performing a sex act on her.
Wood County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Lara Rump said the victim was not in court but had provided a letter and hoped the court took that into consideration for sentencing.
Rump recommended community control sanctions.
Mack said she had received several letters in support of Marx.
“This is a very sad and unfortunate incident that I feel very sorry about,” Marx said. “I never meant any harm to (the victim).”
“These are always difficult cases,” Mack said.
She said the victim suffered serious psychological harm and the offense was facilitated by the relationship between her and Marx.
However, these circumstances are unlikely to occur again, Mack said, adding that this was a “very unfortunate offense” for the victim and defendant.
Mack sentenced Marx to three years of community control. He is to have no contact with the victim or consume alcohol during that time.
Defense attorney Lorin Zaner requested permission to allow his client to travel to Oregon, Wisconsin and Michigan for work and to visit family for the holidays.
Mack approved the travel to the Midwest states but said he needs to submit the request to the court’s adult probation department to travel to Oregon.
“If you’re not doing well with communicating with adult probation, they’re not going to give you the privilege, and it is a privilege,” she said.
Marx must register as a Tier I sex offender, which will require him to register annually for 15 years.
He had been indicted in September 2021 for rape, a first-degree felony, and sexual battery, a third-degree felony. The sexual battery charge was dismissed Monday.
(The name of the defense attorney has been corrected in this story.)