GALION – Former Galion Electric Company Superintendent Anthony Slone pleaded guilty Tuesday Crawford County Municipal Court on Tuesday to receiving stolen property.
Slone, represented by Mansfield attorney Rolf Whitney appeared before Crawford County Municipal Court Judge Shane Leuthold. He was accused of bypassing a meter to hook electric up to a camper on his property.
In a mutually-agreed sentence recommendation, Leuthold allowed Slone to enter the judge’s diversion program. Although Slone pleaded guilty, the plea will be held while he participates in the diversion program. If Slone completes the program and has no other violations of the law at the end of 12 months, the guilty plea will be terminated.
Slone also was ordered to pay $400 to the Galion Electric Company as well as $300 in program fees.
Slone had been placed on unpaid administrative leave since the charges were filed. Slone resigned his position as a line superintendent, effective Jan. 26.
He faced as many as 180 days in jail on the first-degree misdemeanor.
While Leuthold agreed to the diversion; he advised Slone that he did not have to accept the recommendation.
“This diversion program is designed for someone who has no prior criminal record and you meet that requirement; so I’m letting you in the program,” Leuthold said.
Leuthold went on to explain that because Slone worked for a public utility, there might be some public outcry for a harsher sentence. He went on to outline the sentencing guidelines he must follow in such cases.
“I am mandated by the Ohio Revised Code to establish punishment for the offender and to send a message to others of the consequences if they are committing similar acts or are in similar situations,” Leuthold said.
Noting that he had seen at least six cases of people coming through his court that committed the same “dumb act,” Leuthold gave them diversion if they qualified.
“I cannot treat you differently based on the status you have had. You are similarly situated to others I have sentenced on similar acts,” concluded Leuthold.
In a final warning, Leuthold told Slone that he needed to make the city whole by repaying for the electric, pay program fees and complete diversion.
Saying he had no reason to believe Slone wouldn’t do well on diversion Leuthold told him; “If you screw this up, I will revoke your diversion and sentence you.”
In other court news this week, Devin Lutz, 25, of Bucyrus, rejected a plea deal.
Lutz, who is facing one count of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and one count of theft which in this case allegedly is a gun belonging to his grandmother, appeared in court with attorney James Mayer of Mansfield.
He faces 36 months in prison for the theft charge and 18 months in prison on the unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. He also would have to register as a sex offender if convicted.
Judge Sean Leuthold read the plea into the record, which stated the prosecution was willing to lower the unlawful sexual conduct with a minor to a first-degree misdemeanor and attach a 75-day sentence in jail and place Lutz on five years of community control ,with an additional 65 days in jail.
When Leuthold asked Lutz if he wanted to formerly reject the plea offered, Lutz confirmed that he wanted a jury trial.
“You have every constitutional right to a trial and I will protect your rights during that proceeding,” Leuthold said. “But you must understand that the state is now withdrawing this offer, do you understand?”
The matter is set for trial next week.
Also, Jesse Sanger, 36, of Sycamore will spend the next 36 months in prison after he pleaded guilty on a charge of failure to comply. Sanger was signaled to pull over for an initial traffic stop on suspicion of operating a motor vehicle under the influence. Police were at the vehicle when Sanger decided to hit the gas. An officer in front of the vehicle had evade it as Sanger tried to speed away. Sanger did not get far and drove into a snow bank. Sanger received a five-year suspension of his driving privileges. His driver’s license was suspended for five years.