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Office opposes plea change in child’s rape

YOUNGSTOWN — The Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office is opposing an attempt by Shawn R. Unger, 35, of Smith Township to withdraw his August guilty plea to raping a child, 5.

A 10:30 a.m. hearing today will address Unger’s request.

Last month, Common Pleas Judge R. Scott Krichbaum accepted the plea agreement worked out by prosecutors and Unger’s attorney and sentenced Unger to 10 years to life in prison, but Unger later filed a motion without an attorney asking to rescind the plea. Unger said one reason was because he received ineffective assistance from his attorney.

But Jennifer McLaughlin, assistant county prosecutor, argued in a filing that Unger failed to establish that he suffered a “manifest injustice” that would justify the reversal. Such reversal of a guilty plea is allowed

only in “extraordinary cases,” she wrote.

There is no reason to believe Unger failed to understand the consequences of his guilty pleas to rape and gross sexual imposition because he has been involved with the courts before, McLaughlin said.

Unger pleaded guilty to rape of another child, also 5, in a 2009 Mahoning County case, McLaughlin noted. Unger was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2011 in that case, according to court records.

Meanwhile, Krichbaum sentenced Alexandria B. Overholser, 27 of 12th Street in Sebring, to one year in prison in connection with Unger’s crimes. She had dated Unger.

She pleaded guilty earlier to child endangering for failing to protect the girl from Unger, who was not allowed to be around children because of his earlier rape conviction.

The girl lived with Overholser.