By Joe Wiercinski
Herald Staff Writer
The Ohio man charged with exposing himself last fall to girls walking to school has pleaded guilty to one charge in the case.
Justin Fay Moore, 24, of Burghill, entered an Alford plea Jan. 13 to a felony charge of corrupting the morals of minors.
In making an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit his guilt, but acknowledges that sufficient evidence likely exists for conviction at trial.
The plea can be used in cases when a defendant doesn’t remember his actions because of the effects of alcohol, drugs or mental condition. An Alford plea allows the case to proceed to sentencing.
A charge of indecent exposure won’t be prosecuted in the plea agreement negotiated between prosecutors and Moore’s attorney and approved by Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher St. John.
The 10 initial counts Moore faced of corruption of minors and indecent exposure were consolidated to two counts before his plea to a single corruption charge.
St. John ordered drug and alcohol and mental health evaluations by Mercer County Behavioral Health Commission and an evaluation by the state Sexual Offenders Assessment Board to determine whether Moore is a sexually violent predator before he is sentenced in the spring.
Moore was accused of exposing himself Sept. 19 to five teenage girls in two separate groups who were making their way to Sharon Middle/High School. Police said the girls reported that a man pulled alongside them in a van, exposed himself, masturbated and drove away.
Investigators used descriptions of the vehicle to track Moore and police arrested him later that day at his home.
Moore has been in Mercer County Jail since then after failing to post bond.
According to court documents, Moore was prosecuted in 2012 for a similar offense. Sharon police charged him Jan. 13, 2012, with indecent exposure and open lewdness.
Moore later pleaded no contest to the open lewdness charge and the indecent exposure charge was not prosecuted.
Judge Robert G. Yeatts sentenced him last July 30 to 13 days to 1 year in Mercer County Jail to be followed by probation in that case.