County to vote on financing sex crime unit

WARREN — Trumbull County commissioners are scheduled to vote today to continue funding the Child Assault Prosecution Unit using $329,133 from the county’s Children Services Board fund.

The funds provide the necessary income for the prosecutor’s office to pay for a unit that specializes in the prosecution of people accused of sex crimes involving children, and to ensure those convicted of these crimes stay in prison.

The program was started in the mid-1980s with a grant that later was renewed, according to Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins. The state attorney general’s office in 1989 gave Trumbull County permission to finance the program with funding from children services.

Originally, the prosecutor’s office was required to obtain permission to secure the funds from the Trumbull County Common Pleas Court and the county commissioners. It now only is required to obtain agreement from the commissioners.

The money pays a portion of the salaries of two prosecutors and 1 1/2 investigators.

In addition to doing current prosecutions, Watkins said the office keeps track of the status of people who are in prison to challenge parole hearings for prisoners when necessary.

Commissioners today also are expected to vote to acknowledge Educational Highway, located next to the Kent State University at Trumbull in Champion, is a publicly dedicated roadway.

The formal recognition is being done at the request of Mercy Health-Youngstown, which plans to build a so-far unspecified facility along the roadway.

The commissioners’ regular meeting is 10:30 a.m. today on the fifth floor of the Trumbull County Administration Building.