A Conneaut Councilman has resigned from the city council after being charged with more than two dozen counts of sexual misconduct.
Phillip Garcia, 63, was arrested and taken to Ashtabula County Jail in August.
He was indicted on five counts of rape, four counts of corruption of a minor and two counts of sexual conduct with a minor. Garcia was also indicted on 15 felony counts of compelling prostitution.
In his resignation letter, Garcia said he was resigning to devote all of his energy into fighting the accusations against him. His full resignation letter reads:
Please allow this communication to serve as formal notice of my intent to resign my position as councilman for the City of Conneaut. I have faithfully served the citizens of Conneaut for seven years striving to make our community a better place to live and work. It has been a pleasure and an honor. After great deliberation I have chosen to resign my position to devote all my energy and efforts to defend myself against utterly false and absurd allegations that have been levied against me. I am confident that in the fullness of time the truth will prevail, and I will be exonerated. I appreciate all the support I have received from the community of Conneaut. Once this matter has been resolved I look forward to serving the community again.
The city council said they are stunned and shocked by the indictment of Ward 2 Council Member Phil Garcia on multiple counts of sex offenses, some involving minors.
The city's statement continues:
"Conneaut is a good community and a good place to work and raise a family, and any act of sexual abuse is not tolerated.
"The City condemns any act of sexual abuse against anyone at any time, particularly minors. We are deeply concerned for the victims of sexual abuse and that their rights, as well as the rights of those who are accused, are protected. These indictments are only the beginning of a lengthy legal procedure our country has steadfastly followed for more than two hundred years, and further public comment is not appropriate until such time as this matter is resolved according to the law."
Garcia's bond was set at $100,000 and he was ordered to get tested for HIV and have no contact with the victims or juveniles.
Garcia is scheduled to appear in court on October 26 at 10 a.m.