GILBOA - The fire that destroyed the home of a Gilboa man indicated on 46-felony sex charges has been ruled arson by the State Fire Marshal’s Office.
Only two days after Gary L. Badertscher was indicted and arrested, a Dec. 21 fire destroyed his Dutchman Travel Trailer home at 326 Sugar Ridge Road in Gilboa. Badertscher was in jail at the time of the fire.
Michael Duchesne, the public information officer for the State Fire Marshal’s Office, said it was determined that someone had purposely ignited combustible materials in the center of the trailer. He said this was based on the burn pattern of the fire and the damage it had caused.
Duchesne said the investigation is closed but requested that anyone with any additional information about the fire call 800-589-2728.
Prior to his pretrial on Jan. 15, Badertscher said he learned about the fire when he received a call at the jail.
“They burned my home,” he said.
Badertscher has pled not guilty to 46 sex charges, including compulsion to involuntary servitude, endangering children, disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, and pandering sexually-oriented material involving a minor and illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material.
The charges included four counts of endangering children, one count of compulsion to involuntary servitude, two counts of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, six counts of pandering sexually-oriented material involving a minor, and 33 counts of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance.
Court records indicate the compulsion to involuntary servitude incident, a felony of the first degree, occurred in July 2012.
The charge of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance, a felony of the fifth degree, occurred between April 2012 and June 2012. The juvenile involved was reported to have been 17 at the time of the incident.
The charge of endangering children, a felony of the second degree, involved a 14-year old juvenile. Both juveniles were not children of Badertscher.
Putnam County Common Pleas Judge Randall Basinger set bail at $100,000 for Badertscher.
During his Jan. 15 pretrial, Gary Badertscher waived his right to a speedy trial. His court-appointed attorney, Chris Zografides, indicated he needed more time to review the charges and details regarding Badertscher's case.
On Feb. 3, Judge Randall Basinger approved a motion requesting allotting $1,500 for a defense investigator at the rate of $45 per hour and also allotted $1,500 for an expert witness fee.
Badertscher is already a registered sex offender for cases occurring in Florida. He was convicted and found guilty in 2001 for conducting sex acts in the presence of a person under 16 and also in 2006 for committing sexual acts in the presence of a person under 16.