Thursday, August 09, 2001

Spitter gets 8 months in jail

Other court actions pending against man

The Associated Press and The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A Riverside man who had pleaded no contest to charges that he threw saliva on several women in downtown Cincinnati was sentenced Wednesday to eight months in jail and two years' probation.

        Anthony Searles, 42, of Hillside Avenue, was sentenced by Judge John H. Burlew of Hamilton County Municipal Court on one count of inducing panic and two counts of criminal mischief. Judge Burlew ordered Mr. Searles, a carpet cleaner, to wear a gauze surgical mask in court to prevent him from possibly spitting on anyone else.

        The judge also refused to allow Mr. Searles to participate in any work details while in jail — especially those involving food preparation. Serving on work details normally shortens an inmate's sentence.

        Mr. Searles, who declined to speak in court, also appeared Wednesday before Municipal Court Judge Nadine Allen wearing the mask. He has pleaded no contest to 15 similar charges in her court. Judge Allen continued that case until Sept. 5.

        At least 13 women have identified Mr. Searles as the man who threw saliva on them while they walked down the street, authorities said.

        He also is scheduled to appear before Judge Norbert Nadel of Hamilton County Common Pleas Court on Aug. 28 for a probation violation hearing.

        Mr. Searles was on probation for not paying child support when he was arrested in July after he spit into his hand and threw the liquid on a female undercover police officer.

        The attacks downtown — on well-dressed, attractive women — appear to coincide with when Mr. Searles had appointments to meet his probation officer, Cincinnati police said. Other attacks were reported in Hamilton County and Northern Kentucky.

        Court records show Mr. Searles has spent at least five months in the Hamilton County jail since May 1993 on public indecency charges, and his record includes one arrest on a rape charge.

        In all, he's been charged with more than 20 misdemeanors and six felonies in Hamilton County, and convicted of at least eight charges, including a felony.


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