New Castle News

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May 31, 2013

Former school employee convicted of sex charges

NEW CASTLE — A one-time employee of the Union school district has been convicted of sex-related charges involving a former student.

A jury convicted Ronald Dougalewicz Jr., 40, of New Castle of aggravated indecent assault on a child less than 16, indecent assault, two counts of corruption of minors and possession of child pornography.

The verdict came at the conclusion of a seven-day trial in Lawrence County criminal court.

The charges involved incidents in 2009, where police said Dougalewicz had entered into a sexual relationship with a female student who — at the time — was in ninth grade and 14 years old. Dougalewicz was a coach on her softball team.

He also was accused of having nude photos of the girl on his cell phone.

As a result of the conviction, Dougalewicz faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Dougalewicz had been hired by the Union district in 2008 to help develop a strength training and fitness program for students and staff. He was a physical therapist.

The case involving Dougalewicz has lingered in the local courts after a series of hearings. And at one point in 2011, Dougalewicz agreed to a deal where he pleaded no contest to two counts of corruption of minors in exchange for having the other charges dismissed.

However, just prior to sentencing , Dougalewicz moved to withdraw his plea and have the case proceed to trial.

Assistant district attorneys Jonathan R. Miller and Jessica L. Barson served as prosecutors at the trial. Dougalewicz was represented by attorney David Acker.

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