SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — An ex-firefighter in Ohio has pleaded guilty to charges that he sexually assaulted minors in the department’s cadet program, where he was a training instructor.

Twenty-four-year-old Jonathan Monroe pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges including sexual battery, gross sexual imposition, compelling prostitution and rape. Prosecutors said that one of the four victims was about 9 years old at the time of the crimes.

The former Springfield Township firefighter could face up to 37 years in prison.

Monroe’s attorney told the Springfield News-Sun Monroe was a juvenile when some of the offenses occurred and some acts were consensual. Defense attorney Regina Richards said Monroe never meant to hurt anyone and came forward in part to prevent victims from having to testify.

Springfield Township is about 50 miles (81 kilometers) west of Columbus.