July 24, 2014

Elyria
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Monteleone spared jail

Ex-Elyria councilman gets probation for fondling underage workers

ELYRIA — Former Elyria Councilman Joseph Monteleone was placed on three years probation Friday — spared the possibility of prison by a county judge who said his crimes didn’t warrant it.
But Monteleone, who was found guilty in May of asking underage girls to have sex and fondling them at the pizza parlor he owned, must register as a sex offender for the next 10 years as part of the sentence handed down by county Common Pleas Court Judge James Burge.
He also was ordered to pay $9,000 in fines, but can waive those if he gives a $7,500, tax-deductible donation to the Genesis House, a shelter for female victims of domestic violence.
Assistant County Prosecutor Sherry Glass asked Burge to give Monteleone jail time, but Burge said the charges weren’t egregious enough to warrant incarceration.
“Because of the limited space in the jail and the state penitentiary, which should be reserved for violent offenders, it would be an inefficient use of taxpayer money (to send him to jail),” Burge said.
The sentencing is a result of the two counts of importuning and three counts of sexual imposition that Monteleone was convicted of in May, as well as three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor that were not addressed during the trial because it wasn’t clear if Common Pleas court had jurisdiction to hear them.
Monteleone pleaded guilty to those three counts — which stem from incidents where he kept a 13-year-old girl out of school so she could work at the pizzeria — at the sentencing.
The former Republican First Ward councilman, who resigned from his public post less than two weeks after being found guilty, remained silent when asked for comment following the hearing. Two family members who accompanied him for support also hurried past reporters without speaking.
Last month, Monteleone put his pizza parlor, Master Pizza on Cleveland Street, up for sale — asking $89,000 for it. The business has operated there for 16 years, according to a representative at Coldwell Banker of North Ridgeville, which is handling the sale.
The listing says that Monteleone needs to sell because he wants to move out of the area, but wherever he moves cannot be within 1,000 feet of a school because of his sex offender status. He must also register as a sex offender with the sheriff’s department of any county where he lives, works or attends school.
Burge said Monteleone’s life had been ruined by the conviction, which is another reason his sentence wasn’t more severe. Monteleone has said his business dropped dramatically as a result of the charges.
“The natural course of events caused Mr. Monteleone to be substantially punished even before the court has sentenced,” Burge said.
County Prosecutor Dennis Will said he thought incarceration was appropriate because Monteleone committed these crimes under the auspices of an authority figure — both as an adult and their boss.
“Clearly we felt incarceration was appropriate and argued for it,” Will said.
Contact Adam Wright at 329-7151 or awright@chroniclet.com.

See video of the sentencing.