Worthington News

Former Worthington councilman given probation over incident with teen

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A former member of the Worthington City Council who was accused of fondling a 17-year-old intern at his former jewelry store was placed on probation for three years yesterday after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor count of child endangering.

Joseph C. Davis, 44, of E. Wilson Bridge Road, was a member of the council when he was arrested in June and charged with a felony count of gross sexual imposition.

The criminal complaint filed by Worthington police said that Davis rubbed the girl’s leg from her knee to her genitals while she was working at Worthington Jewelers, which Davis co-owned, on May 14, 2013. At the encouragement of her boyfriend, she reported it to a teacher, a city spokesman said at the time. Davis has since sold the store.

The girl’s family supported the plea agreement and the sentence of probation as long as Davis continues to undergo counseling, Assistant Franklin County Prosecutor Jennifer Rausch said.

Rausch read aloud from a letter written to the court by the girl’s mother. “The choice (Davis) made not only harmed our daughter but negatively affected the whole community,” she wrote.

Common Pleas Judge Laurel Beatty imposed the sentence, which includes a requirement for counseling and an order that Davis have no contact with the girl. If he violates probation, the judge said, she will send him to jail for six months.

Defense attorney Robert Krapenc said Davis knew the girl’s father and “violated a trust.”

Davis didn’t make a statement in court and declined to comment after the hearing. His term on the council expired in December, and he did not seek re-election.

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