Former Tidings editor pleads guilty to sex abuse charges

Former Ashland Daily Tidings Editor Andrew Scot Bolsinger pleaded guilty to felony sex-abuse charges Wednesday, admitting in a Salem court to engaging in illegal sex with a teenage girl he knew while teaching at a Salem-area academy in 2000.

During an afternoon change-of-plea hearing in Marion County Circuit Court, the 42-year-old Bolsinger pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree sexual abuse and two counts of third-degree sexual abuse stemming from four separate incidents, court records show.

He was indicted in February 2008 on four counts of second-degree sexual abuse, which is a Class C felony.

Two of those counts were reduced Wednesday to Class A misdemeanors, with Bolsinger acknowledging that he had illegal sexual contact with the girl during those specific incidents, but that they did not have intercourse.

The victim, who was present at the hearing but did not speak, was 16 at the time of her abuse.

Under state law, the age of consent in Oregon is 18 years old, making the acts crimes.

Jodie Bureta, the Marion County assistant district attorney who prosecuted the case, said Wednesday's plea "makes him accountable for the acts he did in Marion County."

"He had to admit on the record and in open court that he did these things to a girl," Bureta said in an interview after the hearing.

Marion County Circuit Court Judge Joseph Guimond set a May 21 sentencing hearing.

Bolsinger, who last gave authorities a San Francisco address, was allowed to remain free on bail pending sentencing.

Bolsinger did not return telephone calls seeking comment.

Bureta said that, before sentencing, Bolsinger will undergo a psycho-sexual evaluation, which will include a polygraph test to help determine whether he has any other unidentified victims.

Bureta said there was no sentencing agreement that led to Wednesday's hearing. She declined to say whether she will seek a prison or jail sentence next month.

Bureta said the victim intends to make a statement at the sentencing.

Bolsinger was hired at the Daily Tidings in July 2003 while working at a newspaper in Virginia. While in Virginia, Bolsinger and the victim listed the same telephone numbers and addresses, with the victim 20 years old at that time, public records show.

Marion County sheriff's investigators opened the sex-abuse case on Bolsinger in November 2007.

He was fired in February 2008 from the Daily Tidings.

Ashland police also are investigating both Bolsinger and his wife, Lori Bolsinger, on possible theft and fraud charges stemming from a string of failed downtown businesses, including Lithia Stationery, Pipon's restaurant and The Main Source copy shop.

The Siskiyou Pub, another failed former business where Bolsinger's financial actions are under police investigation, closed last year but has since reopened under new ownership unconnected to Bolsinger.

The Bolsingers have not been charged with any financial crime in connection with any of the businesses, through which they accumulated hundreds of thousands of dollars in debts, including IRS liens and penalties for failing to pay employees' payroll taxes.

Jackson County District Attorney Mark Huddleston said Wednesday that his office was working with the Ashland Police Department to determine whether more investigation is necessary before presenting the case to a grand jury for possible charges.

No timetable has been set, said Huddleston, who declined further comment Wednesday.

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