Man gets 10 years for sex with girl, 14

YOUNGSTOWN — The defense attorney for a city man sentenced to 10 years in prison for having consensual sex with an underage girl says the conviction and sentence should send fear into any coach, teacher or other person who spends time alone with teenagers.

“This was a he-said, she-said” situation, said Atty. John F. Shultz of the conviction of Brian P. Matthews, 37, of Argo Street. “There was no corroboration.”

Shultz said he wonders if the public’s attitude toward sex allegations involving children has changed since sexual misconduct among Catholic priests was uncovered several years ago.

“The attitude is every time there’s an allegation, everyone believes that he’s probably guilty,” Shultz said today.

Natasha Frenchko, an assistant Mahoning County prosecutor handling the case, said she believes the victim’s testimony was adequate to convict Matthews because her story never changed during eight hours of testimony over two days.

She said she believes Matthews’ apology to the girl before sentencing also shows his guilt.

Matthews said, “I do accept the verdict of the jury. I do apologize to the family and to [the girl]. And I truly hope that she gets the help she needs to move on with her life.”

For the complete story, see Wednesday’s Vindicator and