Predator gets nine years in prison

Frederick “Tom” Robbins threw himself at the mercy of a judge Monday just before she sentenced him for having a cache of child pornography and inappropriate sexual behavior with neighborhood children.

An attorney for the Sycamore Community Schools teacher’s aide who helped coach several school teams told the judge Robbins’ hearing impairment made him a misfit.

“Because of his disability, he found himself between the hearing and speaking worlds and had limited kinds of interaction with adults,” said Attorney Hal Arenstein. “Because of that, he sought solace in relationships with children because children did not judge him as adults would.”

Robbins was born deaf in one ear and at age 12 was hit in the head with a baseball and lost most of his hearing in his other ear, according to court records.

He wears a hearing aid and reads lips. An interpreter transcribed the hearing onto a computer screen that displayed what was being said so Robbins could follow along.

Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Ethna Cooper wasn’t buying it.

“I don’t think hearing impairment should be excuse,” Cooper said. “What you did was inexcusable.”

Cooper sentenced Robbins to nine years in prison and designated the 51-year-old Amberley Village man a sexual predator, meaning after his release Robbins will have to register his address with the sheriff’s office in the county where he lives every 90 days for the rest of his life.

Robbins pleaded guilty to 15 charges of pandering obscenity and a charge of gross sexual imposition in August.

Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor Kevin Hardman called Robbins a “monster.”

A woman caught Robbins exposing himself last fall to her 7-year-old daughter and another 9-year-old girl while they took pictures using a camera Robbins had given them, Hardman said. After that, Amberley Village police found a video in which Robbins masturbated while neighborhood children filmed it, Hardman said.

Officers later found more than 1,000 images of child pornography. Hardman said pictures of neighborhood children were also found in the home and though the pictures themselves weren’t inappropriate, Robbins had written sexual comments on the photos.

“Parents trusted him with their children, (they) considered him the neighborhood recreational director,” Hardman said.

Prior to his arrest, Robbins worked part-time as an educational assistant at Sycamore Junior High School and was the assistant coach of the girls’ lacrosse team and the assistant coach of the girls’ and boys’ cross-country teams. He also spent 16 years as head coach of one of two youth hockey programs in the American Hearing Impaired Hockey Association.

Hardman said the families of the victims have been left with shame, though they shouldn’t.

“The only one who should feel guilty is this defendant,” Hardman said.

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