Man competent to stand trial in sex case

LISBON – An East Liverpool man accused of posing as a woman for years in order to gain access to four children has been found both sane and competent to stand trial.

Aaron LaGrand is charged with two counts of rape, two counts of rape with an age specification, three counts of engaging in sexual conduct with a minor and sexual importuning. Because of the ages of the children, the charges carry a maximum possible sentence of life in prison.

Columbiana County Common Pleas Court Judge C. Ashley Pike noted into the record he was in receipt of both a competency evaluation and a sanity evaluation, which state LaGrand knew what he was doing, understands the court hearings being held and is capable of assisting in his own defense.

Court-ordered evaluations were conducted with LaGrand after his defense attorney, Fred Naragon, had made a motion for LaGrand to be found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Following the results of the evaluations, Naragon withdrew that plea and noted he will begin preparing for LaGrand’s defense in a trial. LaGrand signed a waiver allowing for additional time for the case and the matter was set for a jury trial on June 11.

LaGrand, 33, West Eighth Street, East Liverpool, is accused of sexual conduct with four different children between 2004 and August 2012. One of the children was less than 10 years old during the period between 2004 and 2006 when some of the crimes were alleged to have occurred.

Most of the sexual acts were alleged to have happened at a West Eighth Street home, although one in 2004 allegedly happened in the LaBelle Terrace Apartments when the child would have been between 6 and 7 years old.

LaGrand, who reportedly went by the woman’s first name Erin, reportedly posed as a woman for the eight years prior his arrest. When he was bound over to the grand jury in East Liverpool Municipal Court, bond was set at $100,000. Pike continued the bond and LaGrand remains in custody.