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Cruiser escapee guilty of sex crime

August 23. 2013 5:23PM
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VAN WERTA Middle Point man who escaped a police cruiser by claiming he needed to vomit before jumping from the vehicle, pleaded guilty Monday to having sexual conduct with a minor.Thomas M. Roberts Jr., 36, pleaded guilty to gross sexual imposition, a third-degree felony, just minutes before his jury trial was scheduled to begin, according to Van Wert County Common Pleas Court. He originally faced one count of rape and one count of escape.The grand jury indicted Roberts in December. The indictment said Roberts had sexual conduct with a person under the age of 13. Deputies arrested him at his residence Nov. 23 but he escaped by jumping from the vehicle after pretending to be ill. Mercer County sheriff’s deputies later found him hiding at a residence there.Judge Charles Steele ordered a presentence investigation and scheduled sentencing for 1 p.m. June 7. Roberts faces between one and five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

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