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Grand jury indicts Massena man in teen-sex case


CANTON — A Massena man accused of having a sexual relationship with a teenage girl was one of five people indicted in different cases Thursday by two St. Lawrence County grand juries.

Robert L. Pitts Jr., 53, of 492 S. Main St., stands accused of endangering the welfare of a child, second-degree rape and second-degree course of sexual conduct against a child.

In four separate cases, a second grand jury indicted one man on drug charges and three people in driving while intoxicated cases.

Pitts was arrested in October after Massena police said they recovered a cellphone that provided information about an inappropriate relationship during an unrelated investigation into alleged trespassing by Pitts at Massena Metals. According to investigators, Pitts engaged in sexual activity with the girl, now 15, for two years.

He also was charged with third-degree criminal trespass and petit larceny in connection with an alleged theft of aluminium bars.

Those charges were not included in the indictment, and the status of that case could not be immediately confirmed Thursday.

Pitts, who was convicted of third-degree burglary in 2003 and grand larceny in 1983, was not eligible for bail when arraigned in Massena Village Court. He remained in the St. Lawrence County jail, Canton, Thursday pending further proceedings.

In other grand jury action:

Michael W. Phillips, 47, Chaumont, was indicted on three counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and four counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Investigators said Mr. Phillips sold cocaine in the town of Rossie on three dates from January to March.

Brendon C. Warren, 37, Brier Hill, was indicted on two counts of DWI. Investigators said he had a 0.11 percent blood alcohol content while driving on County Route 2 in Morristown on Dec. 17. A BAC of 0.08 percent or higher constitutes intoxication under state law.

Ernest G. Turnbull, 42, Canton, was charged with aggravated DWI and two counts of DWI. Investigators said he had a BAC of 0.20 percent while driving on a private road in Fowler on Feb. 7.

Aggravated DWI is charged when a driver’s BAC is 0.18 percent or higher.

Frederick G. Beha, 48, Parishville, was charged with two counts each of DWI and aggravated DWI. Investigators said Mr. Beha had an 11-year-old child in the vehicle while driving with a BAC of 0.13 percent on Feb. 11 in Parishville.

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