A Ramona man who pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of annoying a 17-year-old girl by staring and following her was sentenced Monday to 360 days in jail. His projected release date is Jan. 7, 2011, according to the sheriff’s department.
James Leo Flaherty III, 46, wept as El Cajon Superior Court Judge Gary Bubis ordered him to register as a sex offender and fined him approximately $2,000. Flaherty’s lawyer asked for a lesser sentence.
Flaherty was placed on three years probation and given credit for already serving 57 days in jail including time off for good behavior. The girl did not attend the sentencing. Flaherty is barred from contacting the girl after his release.
Deputy District Attorney Richard Huffman II said Flaherty followed the girl in his car and once placed an issue of Playgirl magazine on the sidewalk ahead of where she would walk. The incident with the magazine occurred when she was walking with her sister.
A sheriff’s deputy said the girl reported he followed her in his car and stared at her inappropriately. She reported he made the statement that “I’m not going to leave you alone.” He was arrested by deputies on May 14 after she reported him following her in the 300 block of 16th Street on May 11.
Flaherty was already on probation before the incident with the girl for an unrelated theft at a store. Bubis revoked his probation, and then reinstated probation with no increase in penalty. Flaherty had pleaded guilty to petty theft with a prior theft.
There was no physical contact with the girl, the reason the offense was a misdemeanor. Huffman said the maximum sentence is 365 days in jail. Bubis ordered 360 days so he could still do more time in jail if he violates terms of probation, said the prosecutor.
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 them.
Flaherty has been housed in the George Bailey Detention Facility, but could be moved to another jail to serve the sentence.