Man gets four years for sexual offense

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 3, 2003

A South Point man avoided trial late last week by pleading guilty to one of the three charges against him.

Steven Black, 48, of 104 Dolores St., pleaded guilty to one count of gross sexual imposition, a third-degree felony. Lawrence County Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Walton sentenced Black to four years in prison. He is to report to authorities June 15.

In addition, Black was found to be a sexually oriented offender, and is required to register with the sheriff's office for 10 years after being released from prison.

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Black was indicted last year on two counts of rape and one count of gross sexual misconduct with a 10-year-old girl in his care. The incident allegedly took place in July 2002 at his home.

Black's guilty plea came after Walton sent sheriff's deputies out to find additional jurors to hear the trial. Forty jurors were on the roster to serve, but only 24 reported for duty that day. During jury selection, 10 jurors were disqualified for various reasons, such as previous association with attorneys or the others involved with the case. The deputies located the additional people required and brought them in to serve on the jury, only to have all jurors sent home after Black pleaded guilty.