The 12th District Court of Appeals has affirmed the conviction of Mark Blankenburg, a former Butler County pediatrician who was convicted of multiple sex and drug related offenses against his patients.
Blankenburg was convicted by a Butler County jury in 2009 of 16 sex-related charges, including gross sexual imposition, corruption of a minor, pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor, compelling prostitution and complicity to compelling prostitution. Investigators say he paid his victims to keep quiet with drugs and money.
He appealed his convictions to the 12th District Court of Appeals, based in Middletown. Blankenburg's lawyers argued that the convictions should be reversed because the indictment was "duplicitous" and because the trial court should not have permitted the jury to view 4,000 pictures depicting child erotica. Those pictures were a small percentage of the more than 40,000 photos found in Blankenburg's home.
The appellate court took the unusual step of ordering an extended oral argument, signaling the importance of the case and the complexity of the issues involved. Michael A. Oster, Jr., Chief of the Appellate Division of the Butler County Prosecutor's Office, and Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Donald R. Caster represented the State of Ohio before the 12th District.
The 12th District affirmed all aspects of Blankenburg's convictions and sentences. If he serves the maximum sentence imposed by Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Keith Spaeth, he will be released in 2035. In addition, as a Tier II sex offender, Blankenburg will be required to register his address with the county sheriff every 180 days for 25 years after his release.
Mark Blankenburg's twin brother, Scott, was also convicted of similar offenses.