County Official Pleads Guilty To Stalking Girl

SANDUSKY, Ohio (AP) - An Erie County commissioner has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of menacing by stalking involving a 14-year-old girl.

In exchange for Harold Butcher's plea on Monday, felony charges of compelling prostitution for allegedly soliciting sex from the girl were dropped, according to Erie County Common Pleas Court records.

Butcher didn't speak in court but his attorney, Bill Smith, apologized for him. Smith said Butcher was working to handle a drinking problem.

Butcher, 69, a former school superintendent in his hometown of Perkins Township, was fined $1,000 and placed on 30 days house arrest.

Butcher was charged with circling the victim's neighborhood in his minivan one dozen times last Nov. 11 and stopping to talk to the girl.

Butcher, who is in his second term, did not seek re-election for the term that expires at the end of this year.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)