Man found guilty of fondling boy

WARREN – A jury took a little less than three hours Friday to find a local man guilty of three of four counts of gross sexual imposition on a 10-year-old boy he was helping to watch.

James M. Plevyak had little reaction as Common Pleas Judge W. Wyatt McKay read the verdicts. Members of Plevyak’s family reacted to the verdict with tears, watching the 29-year-old get handcuffed and taken to jail after the judge revoked his $75,000 bond.

Sentencing will follow a pre-sentence investigation later.

Plevyak faces up to five years on each of the three counts he was found guilty of by the group of six men and six women.

The panel found him guilty of fondling the boy once when they were in the boy’s bedroom and playing video games. Another guilty verdict was a result of the victim and defendant being in the bedroom of the victim’s brother and both were laying or playing on a bed. In each case, Plevyak put his hand inside the boy’s pants at the victim’s West Park Avenue home in Niles.

The jury split on the other two imposition charges, opting to find no intent to molest the first time Plevyak bathed the boy.

”We gave him the benefit of the doubt that first time. But the one time was enough to teach any boy how to bathe himself. The second time there was that intent (of sexual gratification),” one juror said.

All the acts occurred between June 2010 and June 2011, according to indictments against Plevyak, of Idywild Street, who was represented by attorney Brendan Keating, who tried to convince jurors the charges were too vague.

”Giving someone a bath isn’t necessarily a crime. When did this happen? What was my client wearing? What was the weather like that day?” Keating asked jurors.

Assistant county prosecutor Gabe Wildman challenged jurors to listen carefully to the testimony from the boy, who is now 12 years old, and who never strayed from his story – a story that was told to Niles police, a Children Services investigator, a nurse practitioner with the Child Advocacy Center in Boardman and the jury earlier in the week.

”His day of reckoning is today,” Wildman told the jury in his closing.

Wildman earlier agreed to dismiss a charge that alleged Plevyak showed the boy pornographic scenes that were on his cell phone but were never reproduced as evidence in the case.

Jurors appeared to be relieved when they learned after the verdicts that Plevyak served 18 months and got a bad conduct discharge from the U.S. Navy after a court-martial dealing with pornography charges. He was discharged from the military in April 2010 two months before he and his mother began babysitting the victim.