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Man sentenced as sex offender in county court

A Ridgway man will register as a sexual offender for the next 15 years as a result of a sentence handed down in county court on Friday.

Branden J. Etner, 24, was sentenced on a count of misdemeanor indecent assault by President Judge Maureen Skerda.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, the alleged incident took place in the City of Warren in late 2019. During an interview, the victim said Etner tried to kiss her, put his hand “up under her shirt and touched her breast and grabbed her inner thigh…”

Police said Etner initially denied touching the alleged victim. “The defendant did not want to admit to touching the victim at that time due to him dating a new girlfriend.”

At a subsequent interview, “the defendant admitted … that he did touch the victim in her private area,”according to the affidavit

Etner’s attorney, Public Defender Francis Waweru, told the court his client is apologetic for his actions.

Greene read a statement from the child’s guardian who alleged that Etner was “well aware” of the victim’s age and disabilities.

Greene called the conduct “horrible.”

“It is apparent the child was aware what you were doing was inappropriate,” Skerda said to Etner, as she notified an adult. She noted that he has “not wavered” in his admission.

Etner has been incarcerated for six months and Greene said that puts the sentence into the aggravated range.

Skerda then sentenced Etner to 197 days to two years less one day incarceration with credit for 197 days time served making him eligible for immediate parole. He was ordered to pay $1,250 in fines and fees, submit a DNA sample, undergo a mental health evaluation and comply with recommendations and complete 100 hours of community service.

She also ordered Etner to have no contact with the victim or caregiver and not to trespass on their property and that the conviction requires a 15 year registration period as a sexual offender.

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