LISBON - The East Liverpool man who reportedly posed as a woman for about eight years while living with a family and having sexual-related charges regarding four children pleaded guilty this week to multiple sex charges.
Aaron LaGrand, 33, pleaded guilty to rape, rape with an age specification, a count of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and a count of importuning.
LaGrand started Monday morning planning to plead to four charges, changed his mind when the hearing began, and then returned after a recess to plead guilty before Judge C. Ashley Pike. Pike asked LaGrand if he was pleading because he was guilty on some of the charges and just wanted to put the matter behind him on others.
"(It's) in the best interest of everybody," LaGrand replied in a soft voice.
Assistant county prosecutor Tim McNicol said Monday the four charges represented a conviction for each of the four victims in the case. One of the charges was with a child younger than 10 years of age, specifically between 6 and 7, and another was between ages 10 and 13. The other charges involved older teens.
McNicol said several of the people in the courtroom were family members of the victims, who were consulted. He said the families believed the decision to accept the plea deal was in the best interest of the children.
LaGrand had been charged with two counts rape, two counts rape with an age specification, three counts of engaging in sexual conduct with a minor and sexual importuning. Most of the charges reportedly occurred at a West Eighth Street home, where LaGrand had been residing. However, another in 2004 reportedly happened in LaBelle Terrace Apartments.
LaGrand reportedly spent years posing as a woman, using the first name Erin.
LaGrand faces 15 years to life on the charges.
Johnson is a reporter with the Morning Journal News in Lisbon.