WILLOUGHBY, Ohio — A Painesville man facing charges for allegedly attacking a teen he walked in on molesting a 5-year-old boy in Eastlake accepted a plea agreement for a lesser charge and was entered into a diversion program Wednesday.
Richard Adams, 20, had been charged with felonious assault.
Adams was scheduled to appear in Willoughby Municipal Court at 1 p.m. for a preliminary hearing, according to court records. His defense attorney conferred with the judge and prosecutors about possibly pleading down the felony charge to a misdeameanor, but no agreement was struck at that time.
At about 2:30 p.m., Adams appeared in court with his attorney and accepted the plea agreement. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of assault, and the felonious assault charge was dismissed.
The judge in Adams' case agreed to the state's recommendation that Adams be placed in a First Offender diversion program, as this was his first criminal offense.
According to the report, Adams walked into a room and found the 17-year-old sexually assaulting the child and a fight broke out between the two.
Following the incident, authorities arrested Adams as well as the teen. The teen has been charged with two counts of rape and two counts of gross sexual imposition, according to authorities.
News of the incident has made its way across the country and Adams has received a wide range of support, from people calling him a hero to others offering to pay for his legal costs.
Since Adams was arrested and later released on a personal bond, hundreds of people have flooded the Eastlake Police Department’s official Facebook page. Dozens more have called into the offices of Mayor Dennis Morley and Chief Larry Reik.
Chief Reik said he was working the day the incident happened and conferred with the shift lieutenant. The chief agreed with the determination to arrest both parties and let prosecutors determine how to best proceed with both cases.
“We’re just one part of the criminal justice system,” Chief Reik said.
Despite the public outcry denouncing Adams’ arrest, Michael Benza, a senior law instructor at Case Western Reserve University, said Eastlake police treated the situation as they should have.