Man gets probation in online sting

PINE TOWNSHIP — A 45-year-old Pine Township man was put on 4 years’ probation for exposing himself through cartoon-themed underpants to an undercover officer posing as a 13-year-old girl on the Internet.

Dale L. McLaughlin, 22 Oak Hill Drive Ext., on Nov. 10 pleaded guilty to unlawful contact with a minor. He was sentenced Friday by Mercer County Common Pleas Judge Christopher J. St. John.

McLaughlin was caught by the state Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit, whose special agent Lisa Ceh posed as a teenager on an Internet chat room.

Ceh said during a preliminary hearing that she never initiated contact, and that McLaughlin continued to speak to her even after she told him she was 13.

McLaughlin said in court documents he believed the 13-year-old to be an adult playing out her fantasies because a neighbor told him the site is monitored to ensure that no one younger than 21 uses it. Such a policy does not exist.

The Attorney General’s office used a fake online profile and showed McLaughlin pictures of an AG’s office employee at 13 years old. McLaughlin called the photos “hot” and told the agent she should be a model.

McLaughlin asked for more photos in different poses, said Ceh.

Ceh also said McLaughlin masturbated in front of a Web camera that transmitted images to her on at least eight occasions.

At one point, he said he was taking a day off, asked to meet her after her mother left for work and if she wanted to have sex in his car or a motel room.

Several agents went to the meeting place Feb. 29, but McLaughlin never showed. He was arrested later that day.

Man sentenced for role in dumping insulation

HERMITAGE — A Hermitage man will spend 11 1/2 to 23 months behind bars after he stole electrical wire and disposed of the burnt-off insulation in waterways.

Randy Ray Law, 31, of 1884 Pine Hollow Blvd., was sentenced Friday before Mercer County Common Pleas Judge Christopher J. St. John. He was the second man sentenced in the case. The first was William D. Koehler, 28, Sharon, who earlier this month received 11 to 23 months in jail.

Law pleaded guilty Jan. 6 to trespassing, polluting waterways and agricultural trespassing. He and Koehler were burning the insulation off to sell the copper for scrap, according to Koehler’s testimony.

Dumping the burnt insulation into Booth Run in West Salem Township was a felony. According to Koehler, the two trespassed Sept. 15 and 19 at a Coolspring Township electrical substation and a Hermitage construction site.

Law will also serve 3 years’ probation.

Ex-Hermitage man files appeal in drug case

SHENANGO VALLEY — James R. Sed has filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Third Circuit, Philadelphia.

Sed, 49, formerly of Hermitage, was convicted by a jury Oct. 30 of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of crack cocaine; distribution and possession with intent to distribute 5 grams or more of crack; and attempt to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of crack.

Police used an informant to hook up Sed with an undercover state trooper, and he set up drug deals on April 21 and 27, both in 2006, that took place in Sharon and Brookfield. Sed was arrested during the April 27 deal in Brookfield.

U.S. District Court Judge David S. Cercone, Pittsburgh, sentenced Sed Feb. 5 to 10 years, 10 months in prison.

The notice of appeal filed Thursday seems to challenge Sed’s sentence. His former attorney had said Sed would appeal Cercone’s denial of a suppression motion.

Sed has a new court-appointed attorney, William C. Kaczynski, Pittsburgh.

Sed broke with his previous attorney, Stephen M. Misko of Butler, over appeal issues.

Drug suspect withdraws motion to suppress

HERMITAGE — A Sharon man has withdrawn his motion to suppress evidence in his drug case.

Romar D. Watts, 27, of 402 Orchard St., Sharon, was arrested March 5 on charges of possession of nearly an ounce of cocaine with intent to deliver, possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness.

At Watts’ preliminary hearing April 30, Hermitage patrolman Christopher Morse said he was sitting in his cruiser in a parking lot in the 3200 block of South Hermitage Road talking to a patrolman from Southwest Mercer County Regional police when Watts drove up in a Lincoln.

Police said they approached Watts in the parking lot after he yelled and threw a newspaper at a neighboring truck.

While talking to police, Watts kept putting his hands in his pockets, which police believed to be a threatening move, police said.

Police said Watts was patted down for weapons and they could feel items in his pockets, but Watts pulled away when asked about them. Watts ran and was arrested inside the Quality Inn, police said.

Police said they found a bag of crack cocaine, a digital scale and two cellular telephones on Watts, and particles of smashed crack and a bag of crack in the police cruiser where Watts had sat for transport to the Shenango Valley Regional Lockup, Farrell.

Watts later told police he had bought a large quantity of crack in Sharon for $500, police said.

Watts had argued police had no legitimate basis to search him, searched him after he refused to give consent, and misinterpreted his actions with his hands.

Staff and wire reports

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