WARSAW — A Milford man was ordered to serve most of a 16-year sentence for a sexual relationship he had with a female who was between the ages of 14 and 16 years old.
Dylan James Houser, 22, 513 E. Beer Road, Milford, was charged with two counts of sexual misconduct with a minor. He pleaded guilty to those charges at a plea hearing earlier this year and came before Judge David Cates in Kosciusko County Superior Court 1 on Thursday, Sept. 20.
Prosecutor Brad Voelz referenced testimony that was given at an earlier hearing for the case that investigators said stemmed from multiple encounters between Houser and the minor female in both Wabash and Kosciusko counties.
“I think no one who listened to what was said here will ever forget it,” said Voelz. “I think there’s an aggravator that is so strong that it outweighs anything that I could say and that is that he violated the trust of a child. He has ruined relationships, and not just his own.”
Voelz continued by saying that statements made by Houser in earlier proceedings did not help the dependent’s case. “Those statements were some of the most arrogant and self-centered statements I’ve ever heard,” Voelz said.
Houser’s attorney, Scott Lennox asked the court to take Houser’s prior lack of criminal history into account and responded to Voelz’s statements about Houser. “To say he’s selfish and immature — maybe — he’s 22,” said Lennox.
Houser addressed the court and apologized to his wife and to the victim’s family, who were in attendance at the sentencing hearing.
“Unfortunately, we’re here today because of my actions,” Houser said. “I hurt a lot of the people I care about the most.”
According to police, Houser began to engage in the relationship and was found out when the parents of the victim found inappropriate text messages on the victim’s phone, prompting her to admit to the encounters, which began in March of 2017 and happened approximately four times in Wabash County and 60 times in Kosciusko County.
Police reported that on one occasion, Houser’s wife discovered her husband and the victim in bed together with no clothes on. With his voice breaking during his statement, Houser told the court that he and his wife have repaired their relationship.
“I was the adult and I should have never crossed that line, let alone come anywhere near it,” said Houser. “I am asking for your grace.”
Cates was not convinced he should be lenient.
“When I first reviewed this, I thought your remorse was about getting caught,” said Cates. “I’m not sure much has changed. This was not a mistake. This was a choice that you made.”
Cates sentenced Houser to eight years in the Indiana Department of Corrections for each count and suspended two years of the sentence. Houser was given one day of jail time credit.