The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

January 31, 2014

72-year-old sentenced in 3rd case of lewdness

LACKAWANNOCK TOWNSHIP — The former township supervisor convicted twice before of indecent exposure was given probation for doing the same thing last summer.

Willis Jerald Swartz, 72, of 112 Nych Road, Lackawannock Township, also must get counseling, Mercer County Common Pleas Court President Judge Thomas R. Dobson told him Thursday at a sentencing hearing.

Swartz had pleaded no contest in November to a charge of open lewdness.

Swartz, driving in his pickup, pulled up next to a 16-year-old Sharon girl last May 23 as she was walking home from school along South Oakland Avenue.

She told police he masturbated in front of her. The victim gave police a license number that was the same one registered to Swartz’s truck and she later picked him out of a photo lineup.

Swartz’s attorney, Randall T. Hetrick, said at his sentencing that Swartz has always had a good work history and that except for his convictions in three cases for indecency, he has no other criminal record.

Pointing out that Swartz’s wife of more than 50 years died last summer, Hetrick noted that Swartz has four adult children who have remained supportive of him.

“We hope you will consider probation or house arrest,” Hetrick said, also citing Swartz’s age as a reason to ask for leniency in the sentence.

“What would you like to say?” Dobson asked, but Swartz’s brief reply, spoken softly, was inaudible in the rear of the courtroom.

“I’m putting you on probation for 18 months and three months of that is house arrest,” Dobson said.

Referring to a report saying Swartz does part-time road work for the township, Dobson said he could drive back and forth to work but otherwise must be accompanied by someone else because he committed his crimes in his pickup.

“Whenever you need to get groceries or go somewhere, you need someone to go with you,” Dobson said. “If you’re alone, that’s when you have gotten into trouble.”

Dobson also ordered Swartz, through his probation officer, to get grief counseling because of his wife’s death and “offense-specific” counseling related to his sexual crimes.

Swartz formerly served as a Lackawannock Township supervisor for one term before losing a re-election bid by two votes in the 2011 Republican primary.

He was first convicted of public indecency in Trumbull County in July 2006 for masturbating in front of two different women in separate incidents Oct. 6, 2005, in a Hubbard neighborhood.

The victims who later picked Swartz out of a lineup told police he had pulled up next to them in his pickup.

Swartz was accused three weeks later of doing the same thing along McCleery Street in Sharon.

The judge in Ohio ordered Swartz to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, ordered him to pay $571 in fines and costs and put him on probation for a year.

When Swartz was sentenced for open lewdness in the Sharon case, Judge Francis J. Fornelli sentenced him to 1 month to 1 year in jail, warning him that he could be put in a state prison if he committed the crime again.

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Man, 24, must register as sex offender for life

    The Ohio man who exposed himself to Sharon girls on their way to school last fall must register as a sexual offender for the rest of his life when he gets out of jail.

    April 23, 2014

  • Man deemed predator – for now

    A former Sharon man was sent to the state prison system Tuesday for corrupting the morals of a teenage girl, but the question of whether his penalties under Megan’s Law will stand could be subject to future legal proceedings.

    April 23, 2014

  • Not even waste will be wasted

    Tom Darby admits he wishes the startup of the anaerobic digestion process at the Hermitage Water Pollution Control Plant had moved along much faster.

    April 23, 2014

  • 3rd Earth Fest draws families to Penn State

    Penn State Shenango’s Earth Fest has become a spring tradition for area residents.
    Families poured into downtown Sharon for the campus’ third annual sustainability celebration.

    April 22, 2014

  • Amish clean Shenango River Volunteers protect Shenango River

    Shenango River Watchers has spent more than a decade working to clean up the Shenango and improve recreational access to its water and banks.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • For many, recycling’s become way of life

    When Pennsylvania mandated curbside recycling for its larger municipalities in 1998 – those with more than 5,000 people – there was grumbling about government interference in the lives of everyday people.

    April 22, 2014

  • Many items can’t be thrown away

    The computer screen in front of you isn’t likely to do you much harm, at least not until it’s tossed in a landfill where the lead-filled components start to leak and eventually find their way into your drinking water, according to Jerry Zona, director of the Lawrence-Mercer County Recycling/Solid Waste department.

    April 22, 2014

  • David Sykes' solar panels Earthworks

    While touring Germany last year, David Sykes spotted solar panels resting in a residential back yard.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Burned using Icy Hot, woman claims

    A Grove City woman has sued Chattem Inc. and Rite Aid of Pennsylvania Inc., alleging she suffered a second-degree chemical burn using one of Chattem’s Icy Hot pain relief products.

    April 21, 2014

  • Family outing Family friendly

    “We’re No. 5’’ isn’t a sports cheer you’ll hear any time soon.
    But considering the lumps the greater area has gotten over the years on economic rankings, it’s an outright victory.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • To demolish or not Tear it down? Fix it up?

    In 2007, Richard D. Givens bought a home at 831 Knobwood Drive in Hermitage for $245,000.
    Today, the city of Hermitage is seeking the demolition of the now-vacant house, arguing the damage from water infiltration makes the structure not worth saving.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from April 19, 2014

    April 19, 2014

  • Man admits having child porn

    A Mercer man accused of soliciting and downloading photographs of nude teenage girls pleaded guilty April 8 to sexual abuse of children for possessing child pornography.

    April 19, 2014

  • Police getting new tool to fight crime

    Sharon police working at crime scenes will be putting a powerful new investigative tool to work as soon as next month.

    April 19, 2014

  • Soap box derby finds new home

    The Greater Pennsylvania Super Kids soap box derby for special-needs kids is moving to Sharpsville.

    April 19, 2014