Man pleads guilty to rape of minor
The man will be made to register as a sex offender for life.
By John W. Goodwin Jr.
A 38-year-old Youngstown man has pleaded guilty to sexual charges involving a 13-year-old girl.
Ronald Morgan of Granada Avenue was set to go on trial this week before Judge Maureen Sweeney of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court on rape and attempted rape charges, but pleaded guilty to the charges just before jury selection.
Morgan, in the plea agreement, entered an Alford Plea, meaning he denies his guilt in the crime but acknowledges that prosecutors likely have enough evidence to secure a guilty verdict.
Morgan was represented by Atty. Mark Lavelle.
Morgan could be sentenced to as many as 18 years behind bars. Prosecutors, under the terms of the plea agreement, are asking the court to impose an 8-year sentence. No date has been set for sentencing.
Natasha Frenchko, an assistant county prosecutor, said the charges against Morgan stem from New Year’s Day 2012 when Morgan was left to babysit a group of kids including the 13-year-old female victim.
Frenchko said Morgan attempted to have sex with the teen and was unsuccessful. She said after the attempted sex he had the girl perform a sex act on him. She said Morgan had known the girl for a good portion of her life.
“This was not a stranger situation. This was a situation where he was a trusted individual,” she said.
Frenchko said other children in the house at the time of the incident told an adult who then told the victim’s mother that something had taken place. The victim later wrote a letter to her mother detailing the assault. Morgan likely will serve a considerable prison sentence. The law says he must also serve five years of probation and register as a sex offender upon his release from prison.
“We made the plea agreement with the approval from the family. We wanted to spare the victim from having to testify,” said Frenchko. “Our recommendation will be for eight years, and he will have five years of parole and will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.”