Last edited: February 14, 2005

Empire Man Found Guilty in Rest Stop Incident

Steubenville Herald-Star, October 5, 2001
401 Herald Square, Steubenville, OH 43952
Fax: 614-282-4261

By Matz Malone, Staff writer

TORONTO—James Henry, 45, of Empire was found guilty of public indecency, a misdemeanor, Thursday after a jury of five men and three women deliberated for less than an hour in Jefferson County Court in Toronto.

Judge Joseph Corabi sentenced Henry to serve 30 days in the county jail, but suspended 25 days and assessed a $250 fine.

Corabi ordered Henry to post $500 bond, but allowed Henry until Monday to secure the bond.

Henry was charged with public indecency in connection with a surveillance operation conducted by Saline Township Police at a rest stop located at the intersection of state Routes 7 and 213. The surveillance operation included use of video cameras to record activities in the parking lot and in the men’s restroom.

Henry was one of 13 people charged as the result of an investigation by the Saline Township Police into lewd activity at the rest area located near the border of Jefferson and Columbiana counties.

Henry was the only person charged to go to trial. He was charged in connection with a May 9 incident at the rest stop.

Assistant Jefferson County Prosecutor Richard Ferro said Henry went into men’s room, used urinal.

Jurors were shown a less-than-one minute segment of a videotape which showed Henry standing at a urinal and before turning around toward the public area.

At that time, the prosecutor’s office claims Henry began to masturbate.

The tape was the only physical evidence presented by Ferro Thursday.

Henry’s lawyer, Samuel Pate, told the jury that Henry did use the bathroom.

"He was there for 47 seconds. During that time he did nothing wrong or improper, but he was secretly videotaped," Pate said.

Pate argued that Henry did nothing wrong.

During previous arguments on the validity of the tapes, Pate last month said Henry had the expectation of privacy when he entered the men’s room.

Corabi on Sept. 28 ruled a person doesn’t have an actual expectation of privacy when in the common areas of a public restroom because anyone entering the restroom could freely observe their actions. That ruling allowed a surveillance tape from the rest area to be used at Henry’s trial.

Henry declined comment after the jury issued its verdict Thursday.

Pate said he will discuss a possible appeal with Henry, but would not comment further.

Ferro had no comment on the verdict.

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