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Ohio councilman indicted on 26 felony sex charges, including rape and compelling prostitution

Posted: 4:25 AM, Aug 29, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-29 18:01:52Z

CONNEAUT, Ohio — Conneaut Councilman Phillip Garcia, 63, was arrested and taken to the Ashtabula County Jail in Ohio on Tuesday, according to employees at the sheriff's department.

Court documents revealed that Garcia is being held on 26 felony charges.

The 26-count indictment includes five counts of rape, four counts of corruption of a minor and two counts of sexual conduct with a minor. He was also indicted on 15 felony counts of compelling prostitution.

Garcia, 63, the councilman for Ward 2 in Conneaut, serves as a member on the Parks and Recreation committee, Economic Development Committee and Public Service Department/Cemeteries committee. 

Ashtabula County Sheriff Bill Johnson said they've been investigating Garcia for two to three months. They launched the investigation into Garcia, who owns Phil's Catering after an employee came forward in June.

The charges relate to five juveniles between the age of 13 and 17, according to the release.  The alleged sexual assaults took place between 1997 and 2005.

Four of the alleged victims were employees of Garcia's catering business.

"We do have concerns that there could be additional victims who have not yet been identified, and we urge anyone with information pertinent to the investigation to come forward," said Attorney General DeWine.