Sprint car racer guiltyof sex counts in Ottawa


OTTAWA, Ohio — Johnny Herrera, 37, a sprint car racer who was named World of Outlaws rookie of the year in 1996, pleaded guilty to two sex-related charges in Putnam County Common Pleas Court yesterday.

According to Prosecutor Kurt Sahloff, Herrera pleaded guilty to sexual imposition, a third degree misdemeanor, and importuning, a fifth-degree felony. When sentenced, Herrera faces one year in prison.

According to police, Herrera of Morrisville, N.C., was in town to race at the Eldora Speedway in June, 2002, when he had sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl. The incident occurred at the home of Herrera's friend, with whom he was staying while in town.

As part of the plea agreement, the prosecutor asked for a 180-day sentence for the felony and a 60-day sentence for the misdemeanor. Also, it was recommended that Herrera not be required to register as a sex offender.

Herrera remains free on the bond he posted in April after he was arrested. Judge Randall Bassinger ordered a presentence report. No sentence date was set.