Local News

Johnston man pleads guilty to lesser charges in Cortland rape case

Derek Jones, 31, entered a guilty plea in Trumbull County Court to charges of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) - A Johnston man accused of sexually assaulting a teenage boy in Cortland pleaded guilty Tuesday to a lesser charge.

Derek Jones, 31, entered a guilty plea in Trumbull County Court to charges of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.

The victim was 13 at the time of the incident last September.

A judge sentenced Jones to four years in prison.

Police said previously that Jones admitted to inappropriately touching the boy and even confirmed that he and the boy would "wrestle a lot."

"He was a family friend of the victim. He exploited that trust and even though we couldn't prove the force element of the rape charge, it was still something that deserved prison and ultimately the judge agreed," said Assistant Trumbull County Prosecutor Gabe Wildman.

Jones was originally charged with rape and gross sexual imposition. He was sentenced to five years probation following his release and will have to register as a tier two sex offender.

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