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Carbon County court

Published December 10. 2019 01:00PM

A Carbon County man was sentenced to a state prison term on Dec. 2 after pleading guilty to a simple assault count.

He was one of five defendants in pending criminal cases to enter a guilty plea before Judge Steven R. Serfass.

Nesquehoning incident

John Palmer Cleland Jr., 53, of the 200 block of West Catawissa Street, Nesquehoning, was sentenced to serve 12 to 24 months in a state correctional institution.

He was arrested on Oct. 9 after borough police responded to his residence for a domestic assault incident.

On scene police located the victim at the side of the house. She told the officers that Cleland had been drinking and physically assaulted her. She had visible injuries on her face. Officers entered the residence and took Cleland into custody. He told police he was in a physical altercation and “knocked her head off.”

Cleland said he and the victim are still living together. He also said, “I have a drinking problem.” He noted he has had two driving under the influence arrests this year.

In addition to the prison term, which began immediately, Cleland was ordered to get a drug and alcohol evaluation and follow any recommendation for treatment, zero tolerance for drug or alcohol use and pay court costs of about $1,000.

Other pleas

David Todd Moerder, 22, of Tamaqua, pleaded to one count of failure to register with state police as a sexual offender per Megan’s Law. On Aug. 23, Nesquehoning police were notified by state police that Moerder did not register as required by the provisions of Megan’s Law as a sexual offender, a felony count.

Sentencing was deferred so Moerder could apply for placement in the county’s Intermediate Punishment Program, house arrest. It was further noted, due to the nature of charge, he may not be eligible for the IPP.

Stephen M. Soldridge, 51, of Slatington, pleaded to one count of default in required appearance. Soldridge was arrested on Sept. 1 by the sheriff’s department after he failed to report to the county prison as directed to begin a prison term. Soldridge is currently an inmate in the county prison.

Serfass placed him on probation for 18 months and ordered he render 75 hours of community service.

Mark A. Mead, 30, of Nesquehoning, pleaded to one count of receiving stolen property with a theft charge dropped in a plea agreement with the district attorney’s office.

Mead was charged by Nesquehoning police on Aug. 6. A female reported her wallet stolen. The police investigation led to Mead, who was found with items that were in the wallet.

Serfass sentenced Mead to time-served (64 days) to 12 months in prison and ordered he make restitution of $25 and render 50 hours of community service.

Stacey Ahner, 44, of Lehighton, pleaded to one count of theft. She was charged by Franklin Township police for an incident at the Country Inn and Suites, located along Interchange Road. Police said she rented a room at the inn for 19 days and failed to pay the fees. Also, the management of the inn said a bedspread and pillow cases were missing.

She has repaid $844 of the amount due.

Serfass placed her on probation for nine months and ordered her to make restitution of $1,198.83, what is remaining in the amount due to the inn for the room rental and missing items, and render 35 hours of community service.

Each defendant must also pay court costs of about $1,000 and a $50 per month supervision fee while on probation or parole.

ARD placement

Joshua J. Yochum, 28, of Lehighton, was placed in the county’s Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition probation program on a charge of possession of a controlled substance. He was arrested on April 9 by Lehighton police along North Second Street.

If he successfully completes the program the charge will be expunged from his record. However, if he fails to complete the program, or if he is revoked from it for violating conditions, the commonwealth maintains the right to prosecute him on the charge. Yochum did not admit guilt in entering the program.

He was placed for a year and ordered to pay $450 for the cost of the program, get a drug and alcohol evaluation and follow any recommendation for treatment, pay court costs of about $1,000, pay a $50 per month supervision fee while in the program and render 50 hours of community service.

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