JEFFERSON — Former Conneaut Council member Philip Garcia’s trial has been scheduled for Nov. 12.
Garcia stands accused of multiple counts of rape and compelling prostitution, along with one count each of corrupting a minor and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Garcia is accused of compelling minors to engage in sexual conduct for hire and using force or the threat of force to engage in sexual activity. Law enforcement has said the incidents involve 10 accusers, all of whom were minors, ages 13 to 17. The accusations cover the period of time between 1997 and 2009.
Garcia’s trial was set to begin on July 9, but was delayed. Instead, a trial management conference was scheduled for the same time, and on Tuesday, the Nov. 12 trial date was set. There will also be a pre-trial hearing on Oct. 10.
Garcia was initially charged in August of 2018 with two counts of rape, two counts of compelling prostitution, and a charge of corruption of a minor. Another charge of rape, three more counts of compelling prostitution, and two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor were filed against Garcia in November of 2018.
Garcia, who was first elected to Conneaut City Council in 2011, resigned in September of 2018 to focus on defending himself, he said at the time.
Garcia is being prosecuted by the Ohio Attorney General’s office, and a judge from Geauga County, David Fuhry, is presiding after all of the Ashtabula County Court of Common Pleas judges recused themselves.
Since the case was filed, Garcia’s attorney, Reid Yoder, has sought to separate the single trial into one for each accuser, claiming that having a single trial for 10 accusers would prejudice the jury.
Yoder also claimed that there is exculpatory evidence in prison phone calls, and sought to have them turned over.
Fuhry denied both motions.
Garcia’s attorney did not return a request for comment.