Ex-deputy gets 1 year for sex with inmate

YOUNGSTOWN — A former deputy sheriff has received the one-year prison sentence recommended by the prosecution after he pleaded guilty to having a female inmate engage in sexual activity with him in Mahoning County Jail in November 2002.

In a plea agreement with the prosecution, Mark Dixon, 33, of Youngstown, entered the guilty plea to the sexual battery charge Wednesday in the midst of jury selection for his trial on that charge, and Judge John M. Durkin of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court imposed the sentence immediately.

However, the judge said the sentence was to run concurrently with a 22-month federal prison term Dixon is serving for beating a different county jail inmate Dec. 28, 2001.

Dixon, who has recently been held in Columbiana County Jail, will finish his federal sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Butner, N.C., Feb. 13, and then serve two years of federally supervised release.

After court, the victim said she wasn’t satisfied with the sentence and thought Dixon should serve the maximum sentence of five years after he finishes his federal sentence.

“Justice was not served at all in this case,” she said. “It’s not enough for what he put me through,” she said of the one-year sentence.

Dixon’s lawyer, John B. Juhasz, declined to comment after court.

Timothy E. Franken, chief trial lawyer in the Mahoning County prosecutor’s office, told the judge the prosecution entered into the agreement for the minimum prison sentence because of deficiencies in the investigation conducted by Dixon’s superior, then Maj. Michael Budd, who is serving federal prison time in the beating case.

“It was something we had to do because there was a good possibility that we’d have lost the case” at trial because of the poor investigation, Franken said after court.

Franken noted that Dixon resigned his commission as a law enforcement officer as part of the federal case, and that his conviction on the state felony sex charge will require him to register with the sheriff’s department in his county of residence as a sexually oriented offender immediately after his release from federal prison and report to the sheriff annually for 10 years.

Dixon apologized in court and urged the judge to follow the prosecution’s sentencing recommendation.

“I was scared and alone,’’ the victim told the judge. “I was violated by an officer of the law. I felt sick, scared and upset. I have recurring nightmares of this incident,” the victim said in court, adding that the episode made her distrustful of law enforcement.

However, Judge Durkin said he hoped her faith in the justice system would some day be restored.

“I am very, very confident that those individuals have been removed from our system,” the judge said, referring to former public officials who have been criminally prosecuted and removed from office in recent years.

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