Home World Hammond man gets 2 years for groping teen at library

Hammond man gets 2 years for groping teen at library

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A judge sentenced a man to two years in prison Thursday for groping a teen at the Hammond Public Library.

Tony Clark, 23, of Hammond, was convicted of sexual battery, a level 6 felony, on April 29 after a one-day trial. He faced up to 2.5 years in prison.

He said he would appeal.

Charging documents state the victim, then 16, reported on Nov. 15 that Clark brushed against her, then 20 seconds later, grabbed her backside. Officers found Clark on Sibley Street nearby. The girl added more details on the stand, lawyers said at trial, that Clark also put his hand up her skirt.

Deputy Prosecutor Arturo Balcazar said Thursday the incident had a “negative” impact on her. She was at the library with family as her sister was decorating Christmas trees.

He asked for two years.

Defense lawyer Michael Lambert said prosecutors were “gracious” by recommending a little less time. Clark would have to register as a sex offender, which might be a “challenge” for him to “comply.” He would benefit from counseling for “issues of impulse control,” the lawyer said.

He asked for time served, or a “fair sentence.”

“I’m so sorry about this case,” Clark said, saying it was “uncomfortable to a lot of people.”

He added he believed some of the victim’s relatives in jail had been harassing him. The victim’s mother appeared to shake her head in court, to say that wasn’t true.

The victim attended, but didn’t speak.

He will serve the sentence after wrapping up 18 months for violating probation on an unrelated confinement case. A voyeurism charge was dropped in that case in a plea deal.

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