A Franklin man accused of sex crimes against minors pled guilty to all charges last Thursday in Macon County Superior Court. David Wayne Ogden, 64, changed his plea from innocent to guilty earlier apparently due to the amount of evidence and victims stacked against him. “Yes ma’am, I’m guilty,” he said to Judge Sharon Barrett.
The courtroom was quiet, and Assistant District Attorneys Ashley Hornsby-Welch and District Attorney Jason Arnold seemed pensive as Barrett sentenced Ogden for his crimes against at least seven victims.
The defendant received an overall sentence of 34-45 years in prison for 35 charges including sexual exploitation of a minor, indecent liberties with a minor, delivering controlled substances to a child between the ages of 13-16 and other offenses. Should Ogden still be alive when his sentence is up, he would have to register as a sexual offender.
Hornsby-Welch, the leading prosecutor in the case, blasted Ogden with findings from the investigation in her closing statements.
Prosecutors asserted that Ogden first began preying on the “trusting and naïve” victims by earning the trust of them and their families as they lived at the Budget Inn of Franklin — where he worked as an employee. Many of the victims, prosecutors explained, came from broken homes.
Five of the victims were in the courtroom that day, who at the time of the offenses, ranged from ages 13-17. “I ask that you give that man every day that you can,” said Hornsby-Welch in her closing statement. “This isn’t some sweet old man who didn’t know what he was doing.”
Indeed, the evidence said a great deal in the case, as prosecutors alleged Ogden had propositioned the teenage victims several times between autumn of 2009 and autumn 2010 to not only give him pornographic images of themselves, but to also perform oral sex on him in exchange for money, drugs, transportation and other things.
In fact, more than 250 items of evidence, including lewd text messages, digital pornographic images (some of which were framed on his wall), and other heinous findings were reviewed by the court.
The nail in the coffin seemed to be when one of the victims stepped forward to speak on behalf of the rest. “I won’t ever forget it and I don’t think anyone else in this courtroom will either,” said one victim briefly to Judge Barrett.
Court-appointed attorney Leonard Hilty, who represented Ogden, offered little in defense. “Let it be noted that he eventually did the right thing,” he said of his client’s choice to change his plea.
After giving her judgment, Judge Barrett then addressed the victims in the case.
“Whatever your past has been, whatever you’ve gone through and no matter your history, it doesn’t set your future,” said Judge Barrett to the victims, some of which were in tears. “You’ve demonstrated bravery and courage.” She lauded the victims for stepping forward against Ogden.
“Detective [Judy] Lau investigated this case, and for over a year she has put her heart and soul into it as she meticulously collected and reviewed the evidence,” said Macon County Sheriff Robert Holland. “If not for her dedication, persistence and hard work, I have no doubt that Mr. Ogden would have continued to victimize other children in our community.”
“I’m pretty happy with [the judgment],” said Hornsby-Welch after court. In her eight years of working as Assistant DA in Macon County, she admitted that she has dealt with similarly atrocious cases, though “not with this many victims.”
It was approximately one year ago that Ogden was arrested by MCSO’s deputies for, at that time, just a handful of charges.
The investigation began on Oct. 8 of last year, when MCSO Detective Judy Lau received information regarding a 15-year-old female who was reportedly heavily under the influence of drugs or alcohol at Franklin Lanes Bowling Alley. Upon further investigation, it was found that the female had various controlled substances in her system.
In the ensuing weeks, investigators would learn from the victim that Ogden had picked her up from her residence the night of the incident and took her to the bowling alley, giving her the drugs before she left the vehicle. The victim told authorities that she had known Ogden for about five years, and he had given her approximately $1,000 over the past two-and-a-half years to “get things she needed,” which often included drugs.
The girl told authorities that she knew of six other minors that had similar dealings with Ogden. In July of 2010, Franklin Police Department Detective Mark Foster approached Lau with questions concerning Ogden. Foster’s inquiries, according to authorities, stemmed from a report he had received from another female minor who made similar claims about Ogden’s activities.
On Oct. 22 of last year, authorities with the MCSO searched Ogden’s residence at 23 Derby Street in Franklin, as well as his maroon 2000 Isuzu Trooper. The items seized from Ogden’s residence ranged from film cameras and pornographic material to female underwear draped on a lamp shade.
During the investigation, detectives found that Ogden had multiple accounts with social networking websites, suspecting that he initiated inappropriate communication and information exchanges with local minors as well as children in other counties and states.
“Parents need to pay attention and know who their kids are communicating with, both on and off, the computer,” cautioned Holland. “Citizens need to understand that there are people out there lurking and looking for the smallest opportunity to victimize your child and it’s all at the touch of a button. The scary thing is the children don’t even have to leave the safety of their own homes to be victimized. We have a false sense of security thinking that the perpetrators in these types of crimes look like the boogie-man but the truth is it can be the person you work with, live next door to, or even sit in church with.”