NORRISTOWN — A former Royersford man showed no emotion as he learned he faces several years of court supervision for engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a teenage girl.
Ralph Joseph DeSantis, 31, formerly of the 300 block of Chestnut Street, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court on Wednesday to 10½ months already served to 23 months in jail after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of corruption of a minor in connection with incidents that occurred between 2012 and 2013 at locations in Royersford. Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy, who accepted a plea agreement in the case, also ordered DeSantis to complete three years’ probation, meaning DeSantis, who also once lived along Devon Drive in Lower Providence, will be under court supervision for about five years.
DeSantis, who has been in jail since June 29, 2013, will be monitored by the sex offender supervision unit of the county probation department. Under such intensive supervision, probation officers can make unannounced visits to an offender’s home and can require an offender to complete treatment or counseling programs.
“Don’t come back in front of me again. You’ve been warned,” Demchick-Alloy told DeSantis, reminding him he potentially faces 2½ to five years in prison if he violates his sentence in any way. “You need to keep those numbers in your head when you hit the street.”
As a condition of the sentence, DeSantis is prohibited from having any contact, including text messages or Facebook communications, with the girl. Friter told the judge that the girl and her family agreed with the resolution of the case.
DeSantis, who was 30 at the time of the incidents, told the judge he plans to work as a home health aide once he’s released from jail.
“He’s admitting that he engaged in a sexual relationship with the young girl, right around when she was 15 going on 16, and the relationship lasted for about five months,” said Assistant District Attorney Jordan Friter, explaining the nature of DeSantis’ guilty plea. “He’s twice her age and he took advantage of a teenager who was vulnerable. He engaged her in this relationship and made her feel like she was older than she actually was.”
Friter said authorities learned about the conduct from others who witnessed DeSantis and the girl together. The conduct observed by others included hugging and kissing, according to court papers.
“They were seen by other people in intimate situations with each other,” Friter explained.
Defense lawyer Benjamin Cooper said DeSantis learned his lesson.
“I think he wants to move on with his life. He regrets his mistake. He wants to get things behind him and it was a very fair resolution to what happened,” Cooper said on behalf of DeSantis. “I think this is one of those cases where you had somebody who I think is a good person and who made some mistakes and is paying for it.”
During the investigation, authorities uncovered Facebook communications between DeSantis and the girl in which they discussed arrangements to meet, according to the criminal complaint filed by Royersford Detective John O’Keefe. DeSantis picked the girl up several blocks from her residence in Royersford and then drove her to a location where they could engage in sexual contact, according to court papers.
The girl eventually told authorities that DeSantis had sexual contact with her on multiple occasions.
Follow Carl Hessler Jr. on Twitter @MontcoCourtNews