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Kent asks judge to suspend prison pending appeal

YOUNGSTOWN — The attorney for Steve Kent has filed a motion with Judge John Durkin of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court asking for a stay of execution of Kent’s one-year prison sentence.

Kent, a former Poland Township police officer, Poland school resource officer and former Austintown Township trustee, was taken from the courtroom at his sentencing hearing Wednesday to the Mahoning County jail to begin serving his sentence.

Kent, 54, of Canfield, was sentenced for a tampering with evidence conviction handed down by a jury last month. The conviction related to Kent erasing the data on his cellphone by using the factory reset.

Prosecutors said Kent did so June 6, 2021, one day after Poland parent Carla Bobbey told Kent a student at the school had made sexual battery claims against Kent — and that Bobbey intended to notify the authorities and the girl’s father. The allegations were that he committed the offenses in connection to his position as school resource officer. The jury found Kent not guilty of three counts of sexual battery that resulted from the allegations.

The filing notes that Kent was free on bond while his case was pending, appeared for all appearances and intends to file an appeal in the case.

The filing states that the judge has the power to suspend Kent’s sentence “for any fixed time that will give the person either time to prepare or file the appeal.”

If Kent is successful in appealing his conviction, he will have already served most of his sentence by the time the appeals court issues a ruling, the filing states.

erunyan@vindy.com

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