Ex-councilman pleads guilty

WARREN – A 44-year-old former Warren city councilman will undergo a pre-sentence investigation after pleading guilty Monday to two counts of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles.

John Bentz of Fairway Drive N.E., a successful candidate for Warren City Council’s 3rd Ward in 1995, remains free on bond pending the background check ordered by Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Peter Kontos.

Bentz served one term on council. He currently serves on the Packard Music Hall Board of Trustees.

The fifth-degree felony charges are punishable by up to 12 months behind bars, but Bentz also qualifies for probation since he has no prior criminal record.

Assistant county prosecutor Gabe Wildman said authorities used a search warrant last fall to examine Bentz’ computers, including those at his home and at his Washington Street N.W. office where he operates a fundraising firm.

Wildman said on at least one of the computers, state forensic experts found evidence of child pornography being shared over the Internet.