Breaking News
More () »

Cleveland's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Cleveland, Oh | WKYC.com

Former Conneaut city councilman gets 18 years in prison for sexual activity with teens

He will also have to register as a sex offender for 20 years.

JEFFERSON, Ohio — A former Conneaut city councilman will spend almost two decades behind bars for various sex crimes involving teen boys.

Phillip Garcia, 65, received an 18-year sentence Wednesday in the Ashtabula County Court of Common Pleas. He will also have to register as a sex offender for 20 years.

Garcia was first arrested in August of 2018 after multiple men accused him of sexually abusing them in the 1990s and early 2000s when they were between the ages of 13 and 17. Four of the victims worked at Garcia's Ashtaula catering business, which has since permanently closed.

Garcia's lawyers initially denied the allegations, claiming prosecutors were targeting him because he was gay. However, he ended up resigning from the Ward 2 council seat he had held for seven years, and this past May pleaded guilty to charges of compelling prostitution and sexual imposition in exchange for having several more serious charges (such as rape) dropped.

"We owe a debt of gratitude to the brave victims who came forward with these heinous revelations," Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said in a statement. "Their cooperation is the reason this criminal won’t get another chance to harm a child."

Following Garcia's arrest two years ago, the city said it was "stunned" by the allegations, adding:

"Conneaut is a good community and a good place to work and raise a family, and any act of sexual abuse is not tolerated. The city condemns any act of sexual abuse against anyone at any time, particularly minors."