Tshombe Miller will spend the next three years on probation and be required to register as a sex offender after entering into a plea deal with prosecutors on charges of gross sexual imposition.
Miller, 29, of Cameron Avenue, appeared Tuesday before Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court for sentencing on a single count of gross sexual imposition in a case involving a child.
He pleaded guilty to the charge as an Alford plea, meaning he is not saying he is guilty, but acknowledges that prosecutors possibly could prove his guilt at trial.
Prosecutors recommended probation as part of the agreement.
Miller had been charged with several counts of a higher level of gross sexual imposition, but those charges were amended and merged in the plea agreement.
Nicholas Brevetta, an assistant county prosecutor, said Miller was charged with fondling a 9-year-old female relative on various parts of her body during an incident in 2012. Brevetta told the court there were concerns about proving the case, so the prosecutor’s office felt the plea agreement would be the best option.
“We unfortunately have to be critical as to whether these cases will be successful at trial, and that factored into the amending of the charges,” said Brevetta.
Atty. Edward Hartwig, representing Miller, said his client maintains his innocence. He said Miller chose the plea deal, however, because he could have been found guilty and faced prison time plus losing custody of his own children.
Miller, who served time several years ago for armed robbery, said he has cleaned up his life. He said the entire issue stems from turmoil and infighting in his family.
“I am a good person. I have gotten in trouble in the past, but I was a child then. When I had kids of my own, I would never do anything to mess that up,” Miller told the judge before sentencing.
Judge Krichbaum pointed out Miller has successfully completed all the requirements from his previous conviction and is gainfully employed.
The judge, however, made it clear how important it is for Miller to understand the court’s position on allowing him to be released on probation.
“The bottom line with the court putting you on probation is that it’s not just you out [there], it’s me out there. ... I am supposed to make sure our community stays safe,” the judge said. “After hearing the facts here, I don’t think it’s right to put you in the penitentiary under these circumstances.”
Miller will go to prison immediately if he violates terms of his probation or has any contact with the victim, the judge added.