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77-year-old pleads to rape of child

WARREN — A 6-year-old victim of rape will not have to testify in a jury trial that was scheduled for Monday because the Liberty man charged with assaulting the child pleaded guilty Friday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court, according to the Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office.

James E. Pierce Jr., 77, 1104 Mansell Drive, pleaded guilty via video conference to two counts of rape and one count of dissemenating matter harmful to jeveniles before Judge Ronald J. Rice. The child was 5 at the time of the crime.

Pierce declined to take a 10-year-to-life sentence plea deal last week, but still faces a mandatory 10-years-to-life imprisonment sentence on each rape count, and up to 17 months on the other charge.

Because Pierce does not have a criminal background, a presentence investigation was ordered.

Pierce is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 5 before Rice.

Rice allowed Pierce to remain free on a $500,000 bond until sentencing. Pierce spent a few hours in the Trumbull County jail on April 30 and a day there April 22, according to court records. The assault was April 21, according to court records.

Pierce is on electronically monitored house arrest, was ordered to not have contact with any child and ordered not to have contact with the victim or the victim’s family, according to court records.

Pierce’s attorney Gerald Ingram attempted to have evidence in the case suppressed, but Rice overruled the motion Thursday, according to court records.

Liberty police investigated the case. Assistant Prosecutor Diane Barber, chief of the child assault prosecution unit, and Ryan Sanders, assistant prosecuting attorney, handled the prosecution.

rfox@tribtoday.com

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