Lisbon man makes deal in sex case

LISBON -- A Lisbon man originally charged with two counts of child rape has pleaded guilty to reduced charges as part of a plea agreement.
Michael Groff, 44, of Middle Beaver Road, entered into the deal recently in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court.
Groff withdrew his original plea of innocent to two rape charges, both first-degree felonies that on conviction bring 10-year maximum prison terms.
Authorities say that he had sexual contact with the same girl in fall 1999 and again in January 2000. The girl was 8 at the time. Groff knew the victim, authorities say.
As part of an agreement reached with prosecutors, Groff pleaded guilty to two counts of gross sexual imposition. The offense is a third-degree felony bearing a minimum one-year sentence and a maximum five-year sentence.
A prosecutor's office spokesman was unavailable Friday to state what sentence authorities are recommending Groff be given in exchange for his plea.
Judge C. Ashley Pike accepted Groff's guilty pleas to the gross sexual imposition charges and set sentencing for 1:30 p.m. Sept. 20.
Groff is in the county jail. His bond is set at $10,000 cash or surety.

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