Friday, August 11, 2000

Sex case plea deal in doubt


Prosecutors say Mason teen-agers changed story

By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — A week after two Mason teens pleaded guilty to scaled-back charges in the alleged sexual assault of three female classmates, prosecutors asked a judge Thursday to throw out the plea agreement.

        Prosecutors said the boys, both 14, changed the statements they had agreed to give when they were scheduled to testify for the prosecution Thursday against the third boy, also 14.

        But a defense lawyer lashed out at prosecutors, saying the prosecutors didn't want to hear what really happened March 11.

        Authorities alleged the boys sexually assaulted the girls, all 14, after the girls became intoxicated and invited the boys over to the home of one of the girls while her mother was out shopping.

        All those involved were eighth-graders at Mason Middle School.

        “The prosecutor probably thought they (the boys) were going to say some things that would help his case,” attorney Greg Hatcher said.

        “I guess he's just not happy that they won't say what he wants them to say. I told my client to tell the truth. I guess the prosecutor has a problem with the truth.”

        Attorney Jeff Meadows, who represents the second boy, wasn't as critical of prosecutors. But, he said: “Any statements my client has made have been truthful and consistent.”

        Warren County Assistant Prosecutor Andy Sievers, who is handling the cases, declined comment on Mr. Hatcher's remarks.

        His boss, Prosecutor Tim Oliver, would say only that defense lawyers “indicated (the boys) would testify in one particular fashion. When they were interviewed in trial preparation, the two individuals indicated they would testify in a different fashion.”

        As a result, defense lawyers advised the boys not to take the stand as the trial of the third boy continued for

        the second day in juvenile court. The boys also were subpoenaed to testify for the defense.

        Juvenile Magistrate Joe Kirby has not scheduled a date to hear the prosecutors' motion.

        Mr. Meadows' client pleaded guilty Aug. 2 to misdemeanor charges of sexual imposition and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, avoiding trial on felony charges that included complicity to rape, complicity to attempted rape and sexual battery.

        Mr. Hatcher's client pleaded guilty to felony attempted gross sexual imposition. The boy was initially was charged with rape, sexual battery, attempted sexual battery — all felonies — and contributing.

        Prosecutors promised they would not recommend incarceration for the boy and that they would not object to expunging the boy's juvenile record in one year, Mr. Hatcher said.

        The case sparked public outcry when Chief Juvenile Magistrate Erik Peters released the boys from custody and approved their return to Mason Middle School.

        After objections from prosecutors, the boys agreed to be tutored at home.

        They remain under house arrest.

       



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