Butler Co. pediatrician makes plea deal - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Butler Co. pediatrician makes plea deal

Dr. Scott Blankenburg Dr. Scott Blankenburg

HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) - A pediatrician charged with sex crimes against former patients pleaded guilty Thursday to two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and was sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Scott Blankenburg, 54, also pleaded guilty to compelling prostitution, illegal use of a minor in a nudity-oriented material or performance, pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor, complicity to deception to obtain a dangerous drug and two counts of bribery.

He agreed to the 13-year term in a plea deal made with Butler County prosecutors in exchange for his pleas. The only guilty plea involving one of the doctor's former patients was one count of bribery. He will begin serving the sentence Feb. 15. He also must pay a $7,500 fine and agreed to pay a $27,500 fine levied against his twin brother in a similar case.

The brother, Mark Blankenburg, a fellow pediatrician, was sentenced last week to 21 to 27 years in prison for sex crimes involving former patients, money laundering and drug charges. Scott Blankenburg, who lived in Hamilton with his brother, had offices in nearby Fairfield while his brother mostly practiced in Hamilton. They were indicted in March.

Scott Blankenburg remained calm and composed throughout the hearing. His sister was in the courtroom and could be seen crying as he was entering his pleas. He had initially been charged with 28 counts, including sex counts involving two of his patients and two of his brother's patients.

Assistant Prosecutor Jason Phillabaum said the community will be safer with both doctors behind bars.

"Today concludes a two-and-a-half-year investigation and prosecution of two doctors that preyed on innocent victims and teenage boys," he said.

Defense attorney Greg Howard said the plea agreement seemed the best conclusion to the case.

"After considering the charges, we thought this was the best option," he said.

Authorities say the unlawful sexual conduct involved a 15-year-old boy, now in his 20s, who came forward after the original indictment. Prosecutors said Scott Blankenburg performed sex acts on the teen between 2002 and 2003 and bribed him to keep quiet.

Prosecutors did not give additional details on those allegations. Additional charges, including drug crimes, occurred as recently as last year, prosecutors said. Mark Blankenburg still faces trial in May on pornography charges stemming from photos the brothers took of high school athletes during games. Prosecutors said some pictures, although not illegal, focused inappropriately on certain body parts.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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