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Carbon County court

Published November 15. 2018 01:29PM

A Lehigh County woman admitted in Carbon County court on Tuesday that she permitted another person to smoke marijuana in her vehicle while her young son was in a safety seat in the rear of the vehicle.

She was one of four defendants in pending criminal cases to enter a guilty plea before President Judge Roger N. Nanovic II.

Park arrest

Virgen Harris, 31, of Allentown, pleaded to one count of endangering the welfare of a child.

She was arrested by rangers at Beltzville State Park in Franklin Township on April 22, 2017. The rangers observed a vehicle parked in the “A” lot area and stopped to investigate. While speaking with the driver, Harris, the rangers smelled the odor of burnt marijuana coming from the vehicle. The rangers also observed a young male in a safety seat in the rear of the vehicle.

Harris admitted she let her passenger smoke marijuana while her son was in the vehicle. In exchange for the plea, a drug count was dropped.

Nanovic placed her on probation for two years and ordered she attend and successfully complete parenting classes. The term runs concurrent with a probation period she is serving in Lehigh County.

Domestic incident

Steve Abendschein, 52, of Albrightsville, pleaded to one count of persistent disorderly conduct while charges of unlawful restraint/serious bodily injury, simple assault, false imprisonment and theft dropped in a plea bargain with the district attorney’s office. Reportedly, the female victim approved the agreement.

Abendschein was arrested on Aug. 15 when state police at Fern Ridge responded to a domestic dispute at a residence along Spence Lane in the Towamensing Trails development in Penn Forest Township. On scene the victim, who left the home and was at another location, told troopers that Abendschein had pulled her hair and forced her to the ground and punched her. The two had a relationship at the time.

Attorney Paul J. Levy, of the public defender’s office, said the victim agreed to the plea bargain and indicated she did not want to have his client given a prison term.

Assistant District Attorney Cynthia Ann Dyrda Hatton said the victim was in the courtroom but did not want to speak. She confirmed that the victim did not want the defendant to be sent to prison, but wanted a no-contact provision in any sentence imposed.

Abendschein apologized for his actions and said the incident was a misunderstanding. Nanovic responded by saying, “When people have a misunderstanding they don’t beat someone for it.”

Nanovic said he would go along with the victim’s wishes and placed Abendschein on probation for a year and ordered he get both a drug and alcohol and mental health evaluations and follow any recommendations for treatment, attend and successfully complete an anger management course and have no contact with the victim.

Other pleas

Tracey Lee Green, 57, of Northampton, pleaded to one count each of criminal trespass, felony 2, and theft.

He was charged by Franklin Township police with entering a residence along Long Run Road and removing a record player and records. He was found at the scene by police and the items were recovered.

Nanovic placed him on probation for two years on each count with the terms running concurrently and ordered he get a drug and alcohol evaluation.

Christopher John Sellare, 41, of Albrightsville, pleaded to one count of harassment, as a summary offense, with a charge of simple assault dropped in a plea agreement.

He was arrested on June 17 by state police at Fern Ridge for an incident involving a female at a residence along Buck Hill Road in Penn Forest Township.

Nanovic imposed a fine of $300.

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

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