Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Guilty plea in sex charge

Ex-deputy met girl at school

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

HAMILTON - The situation was awkward and painful for most of the people in the courtroom.

With his uncle acting as his attorney and his former colleagues forced to handcuff him, Dennis J. Schiavone Jr., an ex-sheriff's deputy, on Monday admitted guilt in two criminal charges involving his sexual relationship with a teen-age girl.

Schiavone, 29, pleaded guilty in Butler County Common Pleas Court to a felony charge of sexual battery and a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a child.

The charges relate to his conduct with a 17-year-old student at Madison Junior/Senior High School, where he was assigned as the school resource officer.

Although the relationship was consensual, Schiavone's conduct was illegal because he was "in a position not only of authority but also of trust," said Assistant Prosecutor Megan Shanahan.

Court records show Schiavone's relationship with the girl began in April, four months after Schiavone was assigned to the school, and ended around Nov. 1.

Prosecutors are recommending a six-month jail term for Schiavone; the maximum term on the most serious charge is five years. Patrick J. Foley, a retired Montgomery County judge assigned to handle the case, has set sentencing for Jan. 21.

In the meantime, Schiavone is under orders to have no contact with the girl or her family - and he will spend Thanksgiving and Christmas in jail. He did not ask to remain free during a pre-sentence investigation, which is unusual. But it's part of Schiavone's effort to take responsibility for his actions, said his attorney, Frank Schiavone.

Frank Schiavone said it hurt to see his nephew, who is also his godson, head off to jail after resigning from a profession that he loved. Two women who came to support "D.J." sobbed as he was handcuffed.

Frank Schiavone turned to the teen girl's parents and said, "We are deeply sorry that their family had to go through this type of an upheaval."

They declined to comment.

Butler County Sheriff's Lt. Mike Craft said the department investigated swiftly. The sheriff's office heard rumors Nov. 10 - and by Nov. 12, confronted Dennis Schiavone. He resigned that same day from the sheriff's office, where he had been employed since 1997, and from Trenton City Council.


E-mail jmorse@enquirer.com

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