Ex-officer indicted in ‘sexting’ case

NEW CUMBERLAND – A former New Cumberland and Chester police officer has been indicted in connection with a “sexting” incident involving a 16-year-old girl last year.

Eric R. Maruca, 27, of New Cumberland, was indicted by the Hancock County grand jury on Wednesday on one felony count of displaying obscene matter to a minor.

Maruca originally was charged in October 2013 following an investigation by the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department resulting from a complaint filed by the girl’s mother.

At the time, Maruca was a patrolman with the Chester Police Department. He had joined the force in July 2013 after working eight years for the New Cumberland Police Department.

Maruca turned himself in on a felony warrant on Oct. 28, a week after being fired by Chester City Council. The case has sat in Hancock County Magistrate Court since then.

“We could not have finalized the case in Magistrate Court,” Hancock County Prosecutor Jim Davis said. “The only way I can pursue a felony charge is through the grand jury.”

Maruca is accused of sending a nude picture of himself to the girl via cellphone in September 2013. He struck up a relationship with the girl after a mutual friend suggested the girl was “in love” with him and was interested in a “three-way” sexual encounter, according to the original complaint filed in Magistrate Court.

The mutual friend – Amanda Myers, 30, of New Cumberland – also was indicted on Wednesday, on charges of use of a minor to produce obscene matter and use of a minor in filming sexually explicit conduct.

“(Myers) is alleged to have taken pictures (of the girl) and sent them via cellphone,” Davis said.

According to the original complaint, the girl told sheriff’s investigators that she had been coaxed into having the pictures taken – one of her exposed breasts and one of her genitals – and sending them to Maruca.

The grand jury returned another sex-related charge on Wednesday – against Douglas E. Wells, 41, of Newell.

Wells faces one felony count of soliciting a minor via computer for allegedly asking a 15-year-old girl to send him a nude picture of herself.

According to the original complaint filed March 24 in Magistrate Court, Wells befriended the girl on Facebook and allegedly made sexual overtures toward her.

The grand jury also indicted:

Jamie L. Bernardi, 28, of Weirton, on one count of embezzlement. Bernardi, program director of CHANGE Inc.’s Lighthouse Domestic Violence Shelter and Domestic Violence Awareness Center, is accused of embezzling more than $10,000 from the Weirton social service agency.

Jonathan D. Graham, 22, of New Cumberland, on one count of first-degree arson. Graham is accused of setting fire to a Hancock County hunting cabin last year in a dispute with the cabin renters, who were not there at the time. The cabin was totally destroyed, Davis said.

Brandon Billingsley, 31, of Rayland, Ohio, for fraudulent use of an access device and bringing stolen property into the state.

John W. Conrad, 38, of Weirton, for grand larceny and transferring stolen property.

Dante Grossi, 32, of Bentleyville, Pa., for robbery and conspiracy.

Jonathan D. Barney, 29, of Weirton, for robbery and conspiracy.

Joshua R. Johnson, 22, of Weirton, for house burglary (two counts) and conspiracy.

Christopher Currenton Sr., 24, of Columbus, Ohio, for entry of a building other than a dwelling.

Ronald G. Phillips, 22, of Weirton, for house burglary and conspiracy.

Shane Fisher, 26, of New Cumberland, for child abuse resulting in bodily injury (two counts).

Michael J. Everhart, 39, of Weirton, for house burglary and conspiracy.

Damien Graham, 32, of New Cumberland, for house burglary.

Kimberly Y. Rock, 29, of New Cumberland, for conspiracy to possess with intent to deliver a controlled substance, possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance (heroin), and possession of a controlled substance (cocaine).

Kenneth N. Jones, 35, of New Cumberland, for manufacture of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance with intent to manufacture, and conspiracy.

Stacey L. Jones, 37, of New Cumberland, for manufacture of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance with intent to manufacture, and conspiracy.

Zachary C. Shingler, 28, of Georgetown, Pa., for grand larceny, conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance (cocaine) and delivery of a controlled substance (cocaine).

Edward J. Bailey Jr., 29, of East Liverpool, for delivery of a controlled substance (cocaine) within 1,000 feet of a school, conspiracy to deliver cocaine, and transporting a controlled substance into the state.

Nancy Humphreys, 55, of East Liverpool, for delivery of a controlled substance (cocaine) within 1,000 feet of a school, conspiracy to deliver cocaine, and transporting a controlled substance into the state.

Zachary K. Humphreys, 20, of Salem, for delivery of a controlled substance (cocaine) within 1,000 feet of a school, conspiracy to deliver cocaine, and transporting a controlled substance into the state.

Abraham Thomas, 32, of Oberlin, Ohio, for delivery of a controlled substance (heroin) within 1,000 feet of a school, conspiracy to deliver heroin, delivery of heroin, and child abuse with risk of injury.

Mary E. Lombardozzi, 39, of Wellsville, for delivery of a controlled substance (heroin) within 1,000 feet of a school, conspiracy to deliver heroin, delivery of heroin, and child abuse with risk of injury.

Joseph M. Blake, 22, of Wellsville, for delivery of a controlled substance (heroin) within 1,000 feet of a school, conspiracy to deliver heroin, delivery of heroin, and child abuse with risk of injury.

Theresa A. Hall, 53, of Weirton, for attempted malicious assault and reckless driving.

Milene Anette Laurine, 35, of Weirton, for acquiring a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud and subterfuge.

James T. Noel II, 35, of Weirton, for manufacture of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

Edrina Williams, 41, of New Castle, Pa., for malicious assault and battery.

James A. Sellitti, 30, of Weirton, for delivery of a controlled substance (heroin).

Jamie L. Kosut, 23, of Weirton, for delivery of a controlled substance (heroin).

David T. Delp Jr., 27, of South Charleston, W.Va., for possession of stolen property.

Arraignments for the defendants are scheduled for April 23 in Hancock County Circuit Court.

(Huba can be contacted at shuba@reviewonline.com)