Lane Winters

Lane Winters 

SHELBY -- A 2018 Ohio statehouse candidate has been charged with three felony sex crimes involving a juvenile, according to Shelby Municipal Court records.

Those state charges will likely become federal allegations next week, according to a spokesperson for the FBI's Cleveland office. FBI agents executed a Shelby search warrant Wednesday at the suspect's home, results of which are still sealed.

Lane J. Winters, 38, of 54 S. Gamble St. had an initial appearance in the Shelby court on Friday, charged with the illegal use of a minor or impaired person in nudity-oriented material or performance; pandering obscenity; and voyeurism.

The first of those charges is a second-degree felony while the other two are fifth-degree charges. A second-degree felony carries a maximum penalty of eight years in prison. The fifth-degree charges have a maximum one year imprisonment.

Judge Sheree Studer kept Winters' bond at $150,000 cash and appointed Shelby defense attorney James Blunt to represent the defendant. Winters remained in the jail at the Shelby Justice Center after the court hearing.

Richland Source left a message for Blunt on Friday seeking comment.

Winters, a Democrat, ran against incumbent Rep. Mark Romanchuk (R-Ontario) for Ohio's 2nd House seat in 2018, gaining 30 percent of the vote. Winters was unopposed in the Democratic primary for the seat that spring.

Most recently, Winters ran on Nov. 5 for the Shelby City Council 2nd Ward seat, losing to incumbent Derrin Roberts, earning 41 percent of the 395 votes cast in the races.

FBI Special Agent Vicki Anderson said Friday that Winters is "being held on the local charges" and that federal charges are anticipated as soon as next week.

She declined to discuss what led to an investigation into Winters, saying more details would be released once federal charges are filed. She said the federal crimes are similar in nature to the state allegations.

According to a Shelby Police Department incident report, two officers on Wednesday assisted the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force with the search warrant for "production, receipt, distribution (and) possession of visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and child pornography."

The report said Shelby officers learned Winters had already been taken into custody in the Cleveland area and was later transferred to the jail in Shelby.

The initial state charge, which cites Ohio Revised Code 2907.323A1, "No person shall ... photograph any minor or impaired person who is not the person's child or ward in a state of nudity, or create, direct, produce or transfer any material or performance that shows the minor or impaired person in a state of nudity."

Pandering obscenity (ORC 2907.32) occurs when a person is accused of creating, reproducing, publishing, buying, selling, advertising for sale, publicly distributing, or publicly displaying any obscene material when the person knows the nature of or the performance depicted in the material.

A person can even be charged with pandering obscenity when he is accused of merely possessing material in order to attempt to engage in one of the prohibited acts listed above.

Voyeurism (ORC 2907.08) involves the practice of gaining sexual pleasure from watching others when they are naked or engaged in sexual activity. It becomes a felony when the victim is a minor.

During his campaign this fall for Shelby City Council, Winters said he was raised in Mansfield and moved to Shelby when his children were toddlers.

Winters said he works as a railroader and serves as the legislative representative for his local SMART (sheet metal, air, rail, transportation) union. Winters and his wife have three sons and two daughters, ranging in age from 3 to 13 years.

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