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UPDATE: Former Tidings editor sentenced to 20 months in prison

UPDATED

July 1, 2009 8:25 am

SALEM — Former Ashland Daily Tidings Editor Andrew Scot Bolsinger left court in handcuffs Tuesday to begin serving nearly two years in prison for illicit sex with a teenage girl he taught, coached and mentored while teaching at a Salem-area Christian academy in 2000.

Bolsinger, 42, did not turn to look at his wife and weeping children when jailers escorted him out of a Marion County Circuit Court hearing in handcuffs to begin his 20-month prison sentence for four counts of sexual abuse.

Marion County Circuit Court Judge Joseph Guimond also imposed a five-year "no tolerance" probation during which Bolsinger could be returned to prison for another 30 months if he violates any of a laundry list of conditions, which include no contact with minors, no use of computers and sex-offender treatment.

Guimond said sentencing Bolsinger to prison "will not help your family," then imposed the stiffest sentence recommended by prosecutors.

He chided Bolsinger for "a violation of trust" for first repeatedly having sex with the underaged girl, then having her follow him to Virginia where he resumed his journalism career before becoming the Daily Tidings editor in 2003.

"I think you preyed on a young woman who at the time didn't have a lot of self-confidence," Guimond said.

"The pain that's occurred here is immense," he said.

In a brief and muffled statement, Bolsinger said he apologized for the pain he caused.

As Guimond left the packed courtroom, Bolsinger unsteadily poured himself a glass of water but never drank it before bailiffs ordered him to put his hands behind his back.

Bolsinger stood with his head down listening to his attorney for several minutes before being escorted toward the Marion County Jail.

Bolsinger, who recently had been living in San Francisco and writing for online publications using a pseudonym, pleaded guilty April 15 to two counts of second-degree sexual abuse and two counts of third-degree sexual abuse stemming from four separate incidents involving the victim while she was age 16.

The victim, who recently turned 26, testified at the sentencing that Bolsinger preyed on her and "misused his position of trust in a Christian academy for his own pleasure."

"I looked up to Mr. Bolsinger as a teacher and mentor," the victim read from a prepared statement. "Instead, Mr. Bolsinger abused his position and status as a teacher to inflict pain that will stay with me the rest of my life."

Daily Tidings online editor Mike Green addressed Guimond during the hearing, saying Bolsinger positively transformed the personal and professional lives of Green and others during his five-year tenure in Ashland.

"I love Scot, not just because of what he's done professionally for me, but what he's done as a person," Green said.

Green was the only one to testify on Bolsinger's behalf in court, but Guimond said he received numerous letters of support from family and friends.

Outside of court, a man who identified himself as Bolsinger's father called the case "a railroad job," but declined to elaborate or give his name. Other family members and friends refused comment.

Bolsinger was indicted in February 2008 on four counts of second-degree sexual abuse, which is a Class C felony, for having sexual intercourse with the girl.

Two of those counts in April were reduced to Class A misdemeanors, with Bolsinger acknowledging that he had illegal sexual contact with the girl during those specific incidents, but that they did not have intercourse.

Under state law, the age of consent in Oregon is 18 years old, making the acts crimes.

Guimond also sentenced Bolsinger to two one-year jail terms on the misdemeanor charges, but ordered they run concurrent with the prison term.

Bolsinger's attorney, Larry Roloff, argued for up to a year of house arrest so Bolsinger could work to support his family and pay for the victim's counseling. He agreed that the 30-month sentence for violating any conditions of probation would serve as a "heavy hammer" to ensure Bolsinger would be no public threat.

Jodie Bureta, the Marion County assistant district attorney who prosecuted the case, criticized Bolsinger in court for creating an "alter-ego" for himself while living in San Francisco while the case played out.

Bolsinger had adopted the name Scott Sabatini while writing about politics and sports for online publications and in social networking Web sites, using a picture that showed only the back of his head.

Ashland police also are investigating Bolsinger and his wife, Lori Bolsinger, on possible theft and fraud charges stemming from a string of failed downtown businesses, including Lithia Stationery, Pipon's restaurant and The Main Source copy shop.

The Siskiyou Pub, another failed former business where Bolsinger's financial actions are under police investigation, closed last year but later reopened under new ownership unconnected to Bolsinger.

The Bolsingers have not been charged with any financial crime in connection with any of the businesses, through which they accumulated hundreds of thousands of dollars in debts, including IRS liens and penalties for failing to pay employees' payroll taxes.

The financial case remains under review by Jackson County District Attorney Mark Huddleston.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 776-4470, or e-mail mfreeman@mailtribune.com.

Breaking story

June 30, 2009 4:45 pm

SALEM — Former Ashland Daily Tidings Editor Andrew Scot Bolsinger was sentenced this afternoon to almost two years in prison for sexually abusing a teenage girl he taught, coached and mentored while teaching at a Salem-area Christian academy in 2000.

Bolsinger was led out of his Marion County Circuit Court hearing in handcuffs to begin his 20-month prison sentence, not facing weeping family members present during his 3 p.m. hearing in Salem.

Marion County Circuit Court Judge Joseph Guimond also imposed a five-year "no tolerance" probation during which the 42-year-old Bolsinger could be returned to prison for another 30 months if he violated any conditions of his probation, which include no contact with minors, no use of computers and sex-offender treatment.

In a brief and muffled statement, Bolsinger apologized for all the pain he caused.

Bolsinger, who recently had been living in San Francisco and writing for online publications using a pseudonym, pleaded guilty April 15 to two counts of second-degree sexual abuse and two counts of third-degree sexual abuse stemming from four separate incidents involving the victim while she was 16.

The victim, who recently turned 26, testified in the sentencing that Bolsinger preyed on her and "misused his position of trust in a Christian academy for his own pleasure."

Daily Tidings online editor Mike Green addressed Guimond during the hearing, saying Bolsinger was an excellent editor in recent years in Ashland, positively transforming the personal and professional lives of Green and others.

Bolsinger's family and the victim declined comment outside of court today.

Bolsinger was indicted in February 2008 on four counts of second-degree sexual abuse, which is a Class C felony.

Two of those counts in April were reduced Wednesday to Class A misdemeanors, with Bolsinger acknowledging that he had illegal sexual contact with the girl during those specific incidents, but that they did not have intercourse.