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YOUNGSTOWN Sex offender sentenced to counseling



Published: Sat, July 13, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The defendant does not have any other crime in his background.

By BOB JACKSON

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- A 24-year-old man will spend three years on probation for improper conduct with a teenage girl.

Jason Long of Pinehurst Avenue was sentenced Friday by Judge Jack Durkin of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court. He had previously pleaded guilty to one count of having unlawful sexual contact with a minor.

Assistant Prosecutor Deena Calabrese, who recommended the sentence as part of a plea agreement, said the victim was a 14-year-old girl and the contact happened in February 2001.

Defense attorney Dennis DiMartino said the victim aggressively pursued Long and he had refused to have contact with her.

"After such a long time of this, he just finally succumbed to it," DiMartino said.

No criminal record

He acknowledged, though, that it was still illegal and "socially repugnant" for Long to have done so but also pointed out that Long's only record is for driving violations, not criminal acts.

"He is God's gift to municipal courts for traffic fines," DiMartino said. "He has a pitiful driving record."

Long could have been sentenced to up to 18 months in prison, but Judge Durkin said the facts of the case didn't warrant putting him behind bars.

"You certainly made a mistake in judgment," he said to Long.

But he said there was no evidence that Long used force, drugs or alcohol to get the victim into the sexual situation. Those are factors that would have made the charge more serious.

Calabrese said the girl consented to the sexual act.

In addition to probation, Long was ordered to undergo counseling for sex offenders and to have no contact with the victim.

bjackson@vindy.com




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