A 44-year-old Ohio man who married the stepdaughter he’d lived in the same home with since she was a child pleaded guilty Monday to a charge of sexual imposition, meaning he must register as a sex offender for the next 15 years.
Joseph Pilkington began a relationship with Brittany Pilkington when she was 17 and got her pregnant. For that, he was charged with sexual battery. That charge was eventually dropped as part of a plea deal, leading to a guilty plea for sexual imposition.
Joseph Pilkington moved in with Brittany Pilkington’s mother when the latter was 9 years old; he took her to school, identified himself as her father and provided for her, according to the New York Daily News.
In case you are unfamiliar with the charge of sexual imposition and what that entails in the state of Ohio, here is a quick rundown of possible applications:
(A) No person shall have sexual contact with another, not the spouse of the offender; cause another, not the spouse of the offender, to have sexual contact with the offender; or cause two or more other persons to have sexual contact when any of the following applies:
(1) The offender knows that the sexual contact is offensive to the other person, or one of the other persons, or is reckless in that regard.
(2) The offender knows that the other person’s, or one of the other person’s, ability to appraise the nature of or control the offender’s or touching person’s conduct is substantially impaired.
(3) The offender knows that the other person, or one of the other persons, submits because of being unaware of the sexual contact.
(4) The other person, or one of the other persons, is thirteen years of age or older but less than sixteen years of age, whether or not the offender knows the age of such person, and the offender is at least eighteen years of age and four or more years older than such other person.
(5) The offender is a mental health professional, the other person or one of the other persons is a mental health client or patient of the offender, and the offender induces the other person who is the client or patient to submit by falsely representing to the other person who is the client or patient that the sexual contact is necessary for mental health treatment purposes.
(B) No person shall be convicted of a violation of this section solely upon the victim’s testimony unsupported by other evidence.
(C) Whoever violates this section is guilty of sexual imposition, a misdemeanor of the third degree. If the offender previously has been convicted of a violation of this section or of section 2907.02, 2907.03, 2907.04, 2907.05, or 2907.12 of the Revised Code, a violation of this section is a misdemeanor of the first degree.
But this story is much more complicated and disturbing than that.
Brittany Pilkington, 24, could face the death penalty for what she is accused of doing to three of the couple’s four children.
Chillingly, Brittany Pilkington is accused of murdering her three sons because they were getting more attention from their father than the couple’s 5-year-old daughter.
The daughter was not harmed and is currently living with relatives.
The couple’s 3-month-old son Niall was found dead in July 2014, leading investigators to believe the cause of death was sudden infant death syndrome, but within the same year, Niall’s 4-year-old brother Gavin was also found dead.
The other two children were temporarily removed from the home by child services, then returned a week later. After the kids came home, 3-month-old Noah was found dead.
Investigators say Brittany Pilkington confessed to the crime, and that the reason was jealously on behalf of her daughter, who she thought was getting less attention from her father than her brothers.
Despite the reported confession, Brittany Pilkington pleaded not guilty and is in jail on $1 million bond.
Prosecutors say Brittany Pilkington suffocated all three boys. Her trial is scheduled to begin in October.