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Bellevue man gets 6-month jail term for lewd behavior

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NORWALK, Ohio - A Bellevue man accused of performing lewd acts with a picnic table in his backyard has been sentenced to six months in jail.

Art Price, Jr., 41, of the 100 block of Brinker Street, was arrested March 20 after a neighbor videotaped Mr. Price's lewd behavior in an open doorway of his backyard deck, according to police reports.

Performing such acts with a table inside one's home is not a crime, according to Bellevue police, but Mr. Price was videotaped during the day and his home is next to Ridge Elementary School in Bellevue.

Officers said they were concerned children could have seen Mr. Price in the act.

He was recorded performing similar acts on four separate occasions: Jan. 29, Feb. 2, March 13, and March 14.

Mr. Price was found guilty Wednesday of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, a misdemeanor, as part of a plea deal to drop felony public indecency charges.

Defense attorney John Allton said Mr. Price also was given three years of probation and ordered to undergo counseling, but was not required to register as a sex offender.

Mr. Price's wife and children were in court with him Wednesday when Judge Jim Conway of Huron County Common Pleas Court informed Mr. Price of his sentence, Mr. Allton said.

The lawyer said Mr. Price had become a "national laughingstock" since his arrest, which made international headlines and was even the subject of the Top 10 list on the April 3 edition of The Late Show with David Letterman on CBS.

The ordeal has been difficult for Mr. Price's family, Mr. Allton said.

"They got through the hearing pretty well, but that's the best that can be said," he said. "They've been through an awful ordeal; the abuse, the original article being taped to their door, the teasing, and the heckling the children went through at school."

In 1987, Mr. Price was charged with voyeurism on three occasions in September, October, and December, and again in July of 1989, after police caught him peering through a peep hole he made that allowed him to view the shower and bathroom of a Tiffin woman and her daughter.

Bellevue City School officials said previously that no students, parents, or staff reported seeing any indecent behavior.

Contact Chauncey Alcorn at:

calcorn@theblade.com

or 419-724-6168.

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