This story has been edited to reflect the following correction: Craig entered a plea of no contest.
VERMILION – Former Elyria City Councilman Mark Craig pleaded no contest last week to charges related to an allegation of groping a guest at his home during a housewarming party in September.
Craig 49, who resigned after 10 years on Elyria council in July 2018 to move to Vermilion, faced three third-degree misdemeanor counts of sexual imposition, according to the Vermilion Municipal Clerk of Courts. After entering the plea on July 16, the court reduced two of Craig’s charges to fourth-degree misdemeanor disorderly conduct persisting, each carrying a $250 fine. The third sexual imposition charge was dismissed.
A 10-day jail sentence is suspended. Craig is ordered to complete 10 hours of community service within 30 days. Craig was also ordered to have no further direct contact with the victim.
A woman at the party Sept. 17 at a Flint Drive home told police Craig "repeatedly groped her," grabbing her buttocks, vaginal area, breast and pulling her hair, a police report said. The woman said that during a tour of the home, Craig "purposely made sure that she and him were the last ones to leave each room and when no one was looking Craig would grab her butt and hair numerous times."
The victim told police that she had been drinking at the party, but stopped drinking "in fear that Craig may have 'put something' in her drink," the police report said. The woman alleged Craig got more forceful as the evening went on.
When the victim attempted to confront Craig about her allegations in a recorded phone call at the Vermilion Police Department, Craig said, "I'm sorry, I don't remember any of that," the report said.
He also told the woman, "Good Lord. I don't remember any of that. I'm sorry if that happened, but...," the report said. Craig also told the woman he has no recollection of anything he was being accused of, and that he also had a lot to drink that night.
"If I did any of that, then I'm sorry because the last thing I want is for you to be uncomfortable," he said, according to the report. "I hope that you can get past that and try to heal."
Craig is scheduled to return to court for a review hearing 2 p.m. Aug. 20.