Man gets three years for sex offenses

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 3, 2011

A 24-year-old South Point man will spend the next three years in prison for unlawful sexual conduct with a 13-year-old girl.

Michael S. Tipton, of 95 Private Drive, pleaded guilty Friday in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court to six counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. The offenses happened over the course of about two years beginning in January 2008, according to Tipton’s indictment.

By pleading guilty Tipton waived his right to a jury trial, which had been scheduled for Thursday.

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The man had been charged with six counts of rape in the case as well but those charges were dropped Friday.

At the recommendation of Lawrence County Assistant Prosecutor Bob Anderson, Judge Charles Cooper sentenced Tipton to 18 months in prison for each of the six counts.

Five of the sentences will run concurrently to each other and one will be consecutive to the other five, for a total of 36 months in prison.

Tipton will also be required to register as a tier-2 sex offender for the next 25 years.

The man’s defense attorney, Warren Morford said the victim in the case was a family member to Tipton. Tipton believed that he and the girl were in a romantic relationship, Morford said.

Morford also said that when he was questioned about the relationship, Tipton admitted what he did was wrong and showed remorse. Morford said Tipton decided to plead guilty to keep the girl from having to testify during a trial.

Tipton did not make a statement before sentencing.