LISBON - An East Liverpool man accused of raping a teenage girl with whom he was familiar pleaded guilty to a sexual battery charge on Friday.
Ricky Wright, 34, Cadmus Street, East Liverpool, conceded to a plea agreement where he pleaded guilty to a sexual battery charge with Assistant County Prosecutor Timothy McNicol acknowledging he plans to drop the first count of the indictment, a rape charge, at sentencing.
McNicol said he plans to ask for a five-year prison sentence at the hearing scheduled for Jan. 10. With the conviction, Wright will be a required to register as a Tier III sexual offender.
After the hearing, McNicol said he was unhappy with the result but he had little choice after the girl, who was 17 at the time of the alleged rape, partially recanted her story. McNicol said he still believes the girl's initial story, which was backed up by both "her signed statement and overwhelming forensic evidence."
"I believe there was undo pressure placed on the child by certain family members close to the defendant," McNicol said, adding the girl may have some impaired cognitive abilities. "I remain firmly convinced this was a rape."
Wright, who told Judge Scott Washam on Friday he only completed the seventh grade, had been scheduled for a jury trial on Monday. The plea agreement was reached at the final status hearing. A presentencing investigation has been ordered and Wright's defense attorney, Charley Kidder, said he plans to ask for less than five years.
According to court documents, Wright on March 2 compelled someone he was related to or custodian of to participate in sexual conduct, utilizing force or the threat of force.
The sexual batter charge Wright pleaded guilty to is a third-degree felony.