Lane Winters

Lane Winters 

SHELBY — A former candidate for state and city government from Shelby has been transferred to federal custody after being charged with three felony sex crimes involving a juvenile. 

Lane J. Winters, 38, of 54 S. Gamble St. allegedly attempted to sexually exploit a child, and was arrested on Nov. 13 thanks to a joint effort from the Cleveland Division of the FBI, the Mansfield Police Department and the Shelby Police Department. 

Winters had an initial appearance in the Shelby court on Nov. 15 and was charged with the illegal use of a minor or impaired person in nudity-oriented material or performance; pandering obscenity; and voyeurism. On Nov. 18, Winters was transferred to federal custody. 

Winters currently remains in federal custody after appearing before a magistrate in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. A detention hearing has been scheduled for Monday, Nov. 25. 

The federal criminal complaint alleges Winters engaged in online chats with an FBI undercover employee and others while in a chatroom known to cater to individuals who trade personal images of female minors and discuss sexual desires or real-time sexual activities with female minors. 

An affidavit filed in federal court was prepared by Det. Ryan Anschutz of the Mansfield Police Department (MPD). Anschutz was assigned to the special investigations unit for the MPD in April 2016, and is currently assigned to the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force. 

According to the affidavit, Winters allegedly violated Title 18 of United States Code section 2251(a) and (e), which "prohibits a person from using, persuading, inducing, enticing, or coercing a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct, and the visual depiction was produced or transmitted materials that have been mailed, shipped or transported in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce by any means, including by computer." 

On Oct. 28, an undercover agent observed an individual entering a private KIK group who was later identified as Winters. KIK is a free mobile application that permits users to send text messages and other content, including videos and images. 

According to the affidavit, after observing Winters chatting with other members of the group, the undercover agent initiated a private chat with Winters where Winters eventually exchanged photos and live images of a minor victim as recently as Nov. 11. 

On Nov. 12, physical surveillance of Winters' residence was conducted. Winters was arrested the following day. On Nov. 14, a forensic extraction of data was performed on a phone seized from Winters that contained several incriminating images. 

During the execution of the search warrant, an FBI agent asked Winters when the last time he was on KIK and Winters replied it was the day before. Winters reportedly could not remember his username, then denied having conversations on the app and ended the interview. 

Winters, a Democrat, ran against incumbent Rep. Mark Romanchuk (R-Ontario) for Ohio's 2nd House seat in 2018, gaining 30 percent of the vote. Winters was unopposed in the Democratic primary for the seat that spring.

Most recently, Winters ran on Nov. 5 for the Shelby City Council 2nd Ward seat, losing to incumbent Derrin Roberts, earning 41 percent of the 395 votes cast in the races.

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