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Conneaut Ward 2 Council member arrested after indictment on sex charges involving minors

AshtabulaCurrent

Phil Garcia, 2014 Ashtabula County Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, faces 26 sex-related charges including rape and compelling prostitution.

Star Beacon

By MARK TODD mtodd@starbeacon.com

 

CONNEAUT — One of Conneaut’s longest-serving council members was indicted Tuesday on 26 sex-related charges, some involving minors, according to court documents.

Ward 2 Council member Phillip Garcia, 238 W. Main Road, was picked up by Ashtabula County sheriff’s deputies Tuesday night and brought to county jail, Sheriff William Johnson said.

Among the 26 counts are charges of rape (first-degree felony), compelling prostitution (second-degree felony), unlawful sexual contact with a minor (third-degree felony) and corruption of a minor (fourth-degree felony), according to court records.

Johnson said he could not immediately comment on any allegations contained in the charges.

“I don’t know any of the particulars,” he said.

Deputies have been investigating him “for awhile,” Johnson said.

When reached for comment Tuesday night, Ashtabula County Prosecutor Nick Iarocci said the sheriff’s department handled the investigation and his office referred the case to the Attorney General’s Office for prosecution. Assistant Attorney General Micah Ault is handling the case.

Conneaut City Council President Deborah Newcomb could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.

Garcia, 63, was elected as Conneaut’s Ward 2 council member in November 2011 and has successfully won re-election in three subsequent elections. He was unopposed in November’s general election.

Garcia, the owner of a catering business based in Saybrook Township, is a long-time scholastic sports referee. Garcia sought to be a Democrat Party candidate for Ashtabula County Commissioner in the spring of 2014.

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