3 men accused of sex crimes make court appearances

LISBON – Three men accused of sexual related crimes made appearances in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court on Friday.

Alex Davtovich, 27, Purinton Avenue, East Liverpool, who faces charges of rape and gross sexual imposition in Belmont County, appeared here on lessor charges Friday. Davtovich is charged here with pandering obscenity involving a minor, pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor, illegal use of a minor in nudity oriented material or performance and possession of criminal tools. The charges are two fourth-degree felonies and two fifth-degree felonies.

He has been in the Columbiana County jail since Nov. 22 after failing to sign a recognizance bond. However, there is a hold on him by Belmont County so if he is released here he will be transported there to face charges, which include sexually-related crimes involving at least two children from Bellaire, one as young a 4 years old.

A status conference was set for Jan. 17 for Davtovich, who appeared with defense attorney Douglas King after his court-appointed attorney Jennifer Gorby became ill at the courthouse earlier in the day.

Davtovich also signed a waiver in court to delay his trial. Because he had been in jail, the date the case had to be tried by was fast approaching.

Friday was also the appearance of Mark E. Knight, Jr. a Salem man who reportedly was at one point hiding a 14-year-old runaway in his home. With Knight’s attorney Gorby unable to attend, defense attorney James T. Hartford explained to Knight that Gorby had on Dec. 23 filed a motion to continue Knight’s jury trial due to the large amount of discovery materials she needed to look at prior to the trial.

Hartford also asked for Washam to consider lowering Knight’s bond, which is currently at $100,000 cash or surety. McNicol objected to the bond being lowered, noting Knight is facing a possible life sentence making him a flight risk. He also stated he has learned Knight sent a letter to one of his alleged victim’s family from the Columbiana County Jail.

Knight North Ellsworth Avenue, is charged with rape, disseminating matter harmful to juveniles and four counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.

Knight is accused of forcing sexual conduct with one female in the fall of 2012. The rape charge, which carries a possible 11-year sentence, was allegedly with a 13-year-old girl.

Additionally, he is accused of having sexual conduct with a then-14-year-old girl in the basement of a home in the fall of 2012 on four occasions. Finally, he is accused of disseminating harmful materials with the same girl in February 2013, sending naked photos of his genitalia through a text message.

Also appearing on Friday was Brian J. Styen, 29, Bell Road, Lisbon, who stipulated to violating his probation on a previous conviction of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. Styen was due to have his probation end after four years in June. Under the recommendation of Assistant County Prosecutor Timothy McNicol, Judge Scott Washam extended the probation until January 2015.

Additionally, Styen was sentenced to 30 days in the county jail and will have six months of intense supervision.

According to court documents, Styen in February 2008 had sex with a 15-year-old girl at a New Waterford home.