A Ramona man arrested May 14 for harassing a 17-year-old girl has pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge and faces approximately six months to a year in jail when he is sentenced on June 7.
James Leo Flaherty III, 46, pleaded no contest to following the teenage girl in a car and staring at her as she walked in the 300 block of 16th Street on May 11. The victim told sheriff’s deputies he had followed her and her sister before and had once placed a pornographic magazine on the sidewalk where they would walk.
Flaherty appeared before an El Cajon Superior Court judge on a misdemeanor charge of annoying a child, said District Attorney spokesman Paul Levikow. The maximum sentence for a misdemeanor conviction is one year.
A no contest plea is handled the same as a guilty plea in that it is a conviction, but the plea cannot be used in a civil suit as evidence of wrongdoing. The no contest plea literally means a defendant is not challenging or contesting the charge against him.
Flaherty was quoted as telling the girl, “I’m not going to leave you alone,” according to Detective Mike McNeill with the sheriff’s Ramona substation. After investigating the incident, sheriff’s deputy Mark Sheriman and McNeill on May 14 identifed Flaherty as the suspect.
Flaherty remains in the George Bailey Detention Facility on $55,000 bail. He is being held on $50,000 bail for the harassment charge and $5,000 bail for an unrelated misdemeanor case of petty theft with a prior theft conviction, according to the sheriff’s department. He will also be sentenced June 7 on the theft case.