Vavra holds final cases until end of pandemic

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Belmont County Common Pleas Judge John Vavra this week held his final Monday court docket until the conclusion of the coronavirus pandemic.

He said all cases are being continued to the near future.

Edward Mark Rouse, 35, of 67979 Dubois St., Bridgeport, could have his community controls revoked after he was arrested for offenses related to child pornography, similar to his previous convictions.

“The reserve sentence here is up to 18 months in the penitentiary,” Vavra said.

Belmont County Public Defender Frank Pierce entered a denial, saying the alleged violations could also lead to new charges depending on the upcoming grand jury. He asked that the next hearing be held after the April grand jury.

Rouse is scheduled to come before the court again on May 11. Pierce said he believed the new charges were being filed in Belmont County Northern Division Court.

“We’re talking about new felony charges that were essentially the exact same thing this court handled a few years back,” Belmont County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Flanagan said.

Rouse originally was convicted of pandering sexually-oriented material involving a minor, a second-degree felony committed June 16, 2015.

Detectives assigned to the Sexual Predator Internet Initiative task force served a search warrant on Rouse’s residence Thursday. Rouse now faces four new charges of felony pandering sexually-oriented matter involving a minor and six new counts of felony possession of child pornography. He is being held without bond in the jail.

Vavra said the new offenses allegedly occurred in January and March.

Also, Brady P. Suire, 45, of 150 Northwest St., Flushing was sentenced to two years of community controls for aggravated possession of methamphetamines, a fifth-degree felony committed April 3. He will serve up to six months in jail with 89 days credit. When space is available he will serve six months at the East Ohio Correction Center.

“It’s a low-level drug possession case,” Pierce said, adding Suire is seeking counseling. “His life problems with drugs are broader than this one simple possession.”

Vavra reviewed Suire’s criminal history, saying he had served prior prison sentences for drug possession and vehicular negligence out of Louisiana, as well as a misdemeanor conviction for operating a vehicle while under the influence.

“There’s a pattern of drug and alcohol abuse,” Vavra said.


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