ASHLAND, Ohio — An Ashland County jury has found an Ashland County substitute teacher for various local school systems through Tri-County Educational Service Center in Wooster guilty of sexual gross imposition.
The Tri-County Educational Service Center provides programming and support to school districts in Wayne, Holmes and Ashland Counties.
Thomas R. Mole, 39, of Ashland was found guilty of two counts of gross sexual imposition after a jury deliberated for just over an hour on Dec. 4.
Mole was indicted by a grand jury in March for two counts of gross sexual imposition and one count of tampering with evidence, a charge later dismissed prior to trial.
According to the Ashland County Prosecutor’s Office, the gross sexual imposition charges stem from Mole “becoming sexually aroused by hugging two 6th-grade students during the 2018-2019 school year," the release states.
Mole admitted that after hugging the students, he had to go to the bathroom to sexually gratify himself, the release said.
The prosecutor’s office said the students attended the same school and neither student was aware of the sexual nature of Mole’s contact with them. The prosecutor’s office did not release the school district to protect the childcare’s privacy.
“There is nothing more sacred than the trust we place in those who are supposed to care for our children. The vast majority of educators are professionals and are appropriately caring for our children. It is vitally important that where predators who seek to do harm to our children are found, that they be rooted out and dealt with appropriately,” said Ashland County Prosecuting Attorney Christopher Tunnell in a statement.
Mole faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. Prison time is mandatory in this case. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Jan. 11 at 10:30 a.m. in the Ashland County Court of Common Pleas. Mole remains free on bond pending the conclusion of the sentencing hearing.