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Anthony L. Contini, 19, of New Philadelphia received a 30-day jail term and a type of probation Monday when he was sentenced for using a cell phone with video capability to record a sexual encounter, then showing the recording to others.
Contini of 443 Lockport Ave. SW pleaded guilty to a reduced felony count of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material as a result of his conduct on July 28 and 29. A related count of pandering sexually oriented materials involving a minor stemming from the same incident was dismissed.
Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court Judge Edward O’Farrell said he reviewed a pre-sentence investigation report and statements from the teenage victim and her parents. O’Farrell also spoke privately to the girl’s parents before Monday’s hearing.
O’Farrell ordered Contini to serve a two-year term of community control sanctions and complete 150 hours of community service. The jail term can be served on Contini’s days off from work. If Contini is unsuccessful on supervision, he could go to prison for six months.
O’Farrell said he was sure his sentence – which included the minimum prison sentence allowed by law – would not sit well with some people. He explained Contini is a first-time offender, with only a speeding ticket as an adult as a prior record.
“You are a first offender in every sense of the term,” O’Farrell said. “The law requires judges to take that into account and not send people like you to prison with murderers.”
However, O’Farrell said, Contini should not think that his actions were minor.
“The events of that evening have seriously affected this young girl and her family,” O’Farrell said. “The act I find so aggravating is not when you, impaired, videotaped what should have been a private act, but you having allowed others to view the recording the next evening. The fact of demonstrating this image to people who had no business seeing it was the big mistake you made.”
Defense attorney William McGinnis said that although Contini was 18 last summer, he was just out of high school and “a very young man.”
McGinnis characterized Special Prosecutor Lynn Grimshaw as using “a tremendous hammer … to hit (Contini) over the head with.” McGinnis also criticized what he saw as a lack of perspective in this case.
“Everyone who watched the video violated the same law he did,” McGinnis said. “No one else has had to take any responsibility, except for Anthony.”
McGinnis pointed out several ways in which Contini cooperated with investigators and prosecutors.
“He gave the video to the family of this young girl, who gave it to the police,” McGinnis said. “He cooperated to the extent he incriminated himself. He could have deleted the images or thrown the cell phone away.”
Contini apologized before the sentence was handed down.
“I am sorry for the whole incident,” he said. “I do take responsibility. I had no intention of anything happening.”
According to investigators, Contini attended a July 28 drinking party at the New Philadelphia residence while the homeowners and some of their family were on vacation. At the party, hosted by the homeowners’ 18-year-old son, many teens allegedly witnessed the 16-year-old girl engage in sex with another partygoer. Contini videotaped it and showed the footage to others the following day.
Upon questioning by O’Farrell about the underage consumption of alcohol that took place during the party, Contini said he was sure he would not have done such a thing had he not been drinking. Contini urged other young adults to obey drinking laws.
Grimshaw has said that others will be charged. Grimshaw, a former Scioto County prosecutor, was appointed because Tuscarawas County Prosecutor Amanda K. Spies has ties to people involved in the investigation.