Man guilty on sex charge

WARREN – A judge revoked bond on a 23-year-old Youngstown man after a jury Friday took less than an hour to find him guilty of having sex with an underage girl.

Anthony Whitacre will remain in Trumbull County Jail until he is sentenced by Common Pleas Judge Peter Kontos on March 18. He faces up to 18 months in prison on each of two counts of fourth-degree felony charges of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.

Whitacre was 20 when a 13-year-old girl first claimed she was forcibly raped by him in Niles on May 2, 2010.

Defense attorney Alan Matavich tried to convince the six men and six women on the jury that the victim lied to nine people, including her parents, police, a doctor and a nurse before finally admitting to an investigator with Trumbull County Children Services that she didn’t consider the two sex acts to be rape.

”She lied to all these people. What makes you think she would tell the truth to Anthony?” Matavich asked.

On the witness stand Tuesday, the Mineral Ridge teen freely admitted that she called Whitacre on her cell phone and set up a meeting at Murphy Park near a train trestle known as the Graffiti Wall. She described having consensual sex with Whitacre, but insisted that she reminded him in a call that she was 13 years old.

Assistant county prosecutor Diane Barber pointed out how the girl and Whitacre talked and texted each other all night before meeting the next day in the park. She stressed to jurors how the victim was clearly not old enough to consent to having sex since she wasn’t 16 years old.

After deliberations, two jurors said everyone on the panel reviewed Barber’s evidence and all came to a quick agreement on guilty verdicts.