Sex offender’s move sends him to prison

LISBON – A man with a gross sexual imposition conviction from a 2000 case will now spend three years in prison, after he was sentenced in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court on Friday for failing to notify the sheriff of his change of address.

Robert J. McLaughlin, 53, whose address was supposed to be on Shadyside Avenue, East Liverpool, was not there when police checked in February 2013. His brother had told officials he was no longer living there.

On Friday, his defense attorney Kelly Linger said McLaughlin had been living there in a trailer on his brother’s property, but after they argued, he became homeless. She called him someone who has also struggled with some mental issues.

Judge Scott Washam sentenced McLaughlin to the minimum sentence allowed, three years in prison on the recommendation of Assistant County Prosecutor Timothy McNicol. Washam also granted McLaughlin credit for 414 days already served, reducing that sentence to fewer than two years remaining.

McLaughlin was convicted of gross sexual imposition for his conduct through the clothes of a 9-year-old boy on Aug. 21, 2000. Additionally, he was convicted of failing to verify his address in both 2009 and 2011.