Man Sentenced to 1-5 Years for Sex Assault in Ohio County

A Wheeling man accused of having sexual contact with a girl younger than 16 entered a guilty plea and accepted a one- to five-year sentence Monday morning in Ohio County Circuit Court.

Aaron Michael Cross, 22, entered a guilty plea to a charge of third-degree sexual assault before Circuit Judge James Mazzone. Cross accepted a plea agreement in which the state agreed not to investigate additional charges against two others identified in a criminal complaint against him.

Cross admitted to first contacting, then having sexual contact with a girl, identified only by initials, adjacent to the walking trail near Wheeling Hospital on May 22, 2017. At the scene, a condom was found by investigators, which was tested for Cross’ DNA. At the time, the girl was younger than 16, while Cross was 21.

Assistant Prosecutor Shawn Turak said she had spoken with the victim and the victim’s mother before offering the plea.

“This takes a tremendous pressure off a young kid, not having to testify,” Turak said after the hearing.

“I want him to serve his time for what he did to my daughter,” the mother told Mazzone during sentencing.

In addition to his one-to-five year sentence, Cross will spend between 10 and 50 years on supervised probation. Both Turak and Cross’ attorney, Shane Welling, said 10 years would likely serve as an appropriate amount of time. Cross also will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.


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