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A Lancaster man was convicted this week of two felonies for messaging a 14-year-old girl online to meet for sexual contact.
A Lancaster County jury recently returned guilty verdicts against 22-year-old Jyptian Grooms to counts of unlawful contact with a minor and corruption of minors.
Lancaster County President Judge David Ashworth, who presided over the trial, will sentence Grooms on the first- and third-degree felonies after a background investigation is completed.
After the verdict, President Judge Ashworth raised Grooms’ bail to $500,000 cash. Bail was not posted.
Assistant District Attorney Fritz Haverstick presented evidence during the two-day trial that Grooms began contacting the girl on Facebook in March 2019.
ADA Haverstick had witnesses read to the jury numerous Facebook messages between Grooms and the girl. In the messages, the girl told Grooms she was 15 (she was actually 14 at the time), and Grooms acknowledged he knew the girl’s age. Grooms requested to meet with the girl for sexual contact, according to testimony.
According to testimony, Grooms used the Facebook profile name, “su rj,” to contact the victim.
There was testimony that the two met and had sexual contact; Grooms testified there was sexual contact. However, the jury was hung on counts of statutory sexual assault and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. The Commonwealth has the option of retrying those counts.
ADA Haverstick told jurors in closing argument that the law in Pennsylvania protects children, “even from their own poor decisions.”
“The simple truth of this case is that (Grooms) knew she was [a child], but he wanted something from her,” ADA Haverstick said in closing.
The victim, now 16, testified.
Lancaster city police Detective Ryan Hockley, who filed charges, also testified.
MEDIA CONTACT: Brett A. Hambright, 717-295-2041; email@example.com; Twitter: @BrettHambright