Sex offender gets three years for repeated failure to register

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – A registered sex offender was sentenced at Belmont County Common Pleas Court Monday after multiple failures to report to law enforcement. Judge Jennifer L. Sargus presided.

Benjamin Alan Watson, 4252 Pine Alley, Bellaire, saw his request to modify sentence overruled. He was given three years after being convicted on his fifth count of failure to register as a sex offender.

“These laws were created for those who commit sexual crimes and to protect the public,” said Belmont County Prosecutor Chris Berhalter. “We strongly enforce them to do just that.”

Watson is a Tier Three offender and must register with the sheriff’s office every 90 days for life. He pleaded to a bill of information on a charge of rape in 1997 and was sentenced to six years. He was found guilty of his latest failure to register in June of 2010, but had been granted a stay for his appeal to Sargus Monday. Other instances of failure to register occurred in 2003 and 2004.

In other matters, Tierney Sue Uchbar, 19 Crista Ave., Wheeling, pleaded guilty to illegal conveying drugs onto the grounds of the Belmont County Jail in the form of close to 20 pills with her during her arrest. It is a felony of the third degree occurring Sept. 18. A post sentencing investigation and EOCC evaluation was ordered.

Rodney M. Whiting, 22, 2700 Washington Ave., Cleveland, pleaded guilty to trafficking in drugs, a felony of the fifth degree. Sentencing was set for March 12.

Joshua Taylor, Martins Ferry, was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to possession of drugs, a felony of the third degree occurring Nov. 25. Pre-trial was set for March 12 with plea agreement March 26 and trial March 27.

Warrants were issued for Roderick Lee Jones and Vallis Eugene Stephen.

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