February 6, 2020
Ed Runyan

YOUNGSTOWN --- Before sentencing Alex C. Bugno to 17 years in prison for paying three boys to allow him to engage in sexual conduct, Judge John Durkin said: “I don’t care in the least about your sexual orientations.”

But the judge added: “The fact that they were boys, young men, 15, 16, 17 years old who were paid an exorbitant amount of money to satisfy your sexual desires is, to say the least, disturbing.”

The judge said the boys used the money --- ranging from $200 to $500 each time --- to help fill their “substance-use disorder.” There was testimony during the trial that Bugno gave the boys pills and the boys had substance-abuse issues.

Bugno, 31, of Clingan Road in Poland, was convicted at trial last month of 14 counts of compelling prostitution for the sex acts, and one count of pandering obscenity for making a video showing him engaging in one of the sex acts with one of the victims.

Bugno could have gotten as many as 50 years in prison on those convictions. Steve Yacovone, assistant county prosecutor, asked Judge Durkin to sentence Bugno to 21 years --- seven years for each victim.

Two of the victims testified at Bugno’s trial, saying Bugno paid them each $500 the first time to engage in a sex act at one of the Bugno Towing buildings in the city in February 2014. The episodes continued until June 2014, when the boys became angry because Bugno did not pay them.

They fired a BB gun at windows at the tow yard on East Indianola Avenue, causing Bugno to contact the father of one of the boys about the damage. When the father confronted his son about the vandalism, the boy told his father about the sex acts.

That victim gave a brief impact statement before sentencing, saying: “There are a lot of sick, twisted people/;./ in this world. I’m glad I got to put one of them away.”

Defense attorney Lynn Maro asked Judge Durkin to sentence Bugno to four years --- two years for the pandering obscenity and one each for the two victims who testified. The third victim did not cooperate with prosecutors and did not testify.

Maro said Bugno would not be giving a statement before sentencing because his defense team advised him against it for appeal reasons.

Yacovone said he believed 21 years behind bars would give each of the three victims “a sense of justice. Then maybe they can move on with their lives.” He added, “The harm is incalculable.”

He noted that Bugno had been convicted of felonies two previous times in Mahoning County --- tampering with evidence in 2011 and criminal mischief in 2015.

When Bugno gets out of prison, he will have to register as a sex offender for 25 years.


Message from Executive Director Laura A. Ahearn: Please visit our website at www.crimevictimscenter.org for news, information and resources in your community.

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