Preble County, Ohio Prosecutor's OfficeMartin P. Votel, Prosecuting Attorney

Juvenile Division

The Juvenile Division of the Preble County Prosecutor’s Office

The role of the Juvenile Division is to prosecute juvenile delinquency complaints, to prosecute adult felony offenses against child victims, and to serve as legal counsel for Children’s Services Division, Job and Family Services in all civil cases seeking protection of abused, neglected, or dependent children.  A “juvenile” is, by law, any person under the age of 18 years.  A crime committed by a juvenile is referred to as a “delinquent act.”

Juvenile delinquency complaints are filed against juveniles who commit acts which would be criminal if committed by an adult.  In some serious cases, juveniles may be bound over to the Court of Common Pleas to be prosecuted in the adult criminal justice system.  In these cases, the juvenile prosecutor continues case responsibilities after the transfer to adult court.  The goal of the juvenile justice system is to rehabilitate juvenile offenders so they grow into responsible, productive members of our community.

The juvenile prosecutor is also responsible for the prosecution of adults who offend against child victims.  In some instances, these are felony cases filed in the Preble County Common Pleas Court General Division in which a child has suffered serious physical harm or been the victim of a sexually-oriented offense.  In other instances, these are misdemeanor cases which are filed in the Juvenile Division relating to a parent’s failure to ensure their child’s compliance with the Ohio Compulsory Attendance Laws or those who contribute to a child’s delinquency or unruliness.

Lastly, as counsel for Children’s Services, the juvenile prosecutor provides legal advice to the Agency and manages all court cases filed on behalf of the Agency alleging abuse, neglect, or dependency.  The goal of such cases is to ensure that children in our community are raised in safe and suitable home environments.  In rare cases, Children’s Services seeks permanent custody of children when it is the best interests of the child, and after the parents have failed to provide an appropriate home.

Valerie Sargent-Eckert is the Assistant Prosecuting Attorney assigned to the Juvenile Division.