Grass Valley man pleads no contest to sex charges |

Grass Valley man pleads no contest to sex charges

by liz kellar
Staff Writer

A Grass Valley man arrested for allegedly arranging to have sex with underage girls has pleaded no contest to three charges in return for a possible sentence of three years. Samuel Joseph Luti, 20 at the time, was arrested at a local motel Sept. 28, 2011, where he allegedly had arranged to have sex with a 15-year-old.

Grass Valley Police learned Luti allegedly had been texting and going online to communicate with girls ranging in age from 12 to 15 to solicit sex acts, sending them photos of inappropriate male body parts. Luti also allegedly was using marijuana to solicit a relationship with the 15-year-old girl, which led to him also soliciting her for sexual favors.

A police officer posing as a minor arranged to meet Luti at the motel, and Luti was taken into custody when he arrived at the room.

Luti initially pleaded not guilty but changed his plea Dec. 21. He pleaded no contest to one count of contacting a minor with intent to commit a sexual offense, one count of arranging a meeting with a minor to commit a sexual offense and one count of sending harmful matter with the intent of seduction of a minor. The plea agreement calls for a three-year sentence on the first count and two years and 16 months on the other two counts to be served concurrently. Sentencing was set for Jan. 23.

In other court news:

A man arrested after alleged erratic behavior behind the wheel postponed entering a plea in Nevada County Superior Court and is set to return to court Jan. 10.

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Albert Ruggles Johnston, 48, was arrested in early October after a Nevada County Sheriff's deputy spotted his silver sedan on Highway 49 near the Elks Lodge, allegedly having trouble maintaining lanes, varying its speed and braking inappropriately.

After stopping the sedan, the deputy allegedly noticed a pungent odor of marijuana coming from the car, and Johnston allegedly had a pistol concealed under his leg. Johnston has been charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, carrying a concealed firearm and carrying a loaded firearm. He was arraigned in court Dec. 17.

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email or call (530) 477-4229.

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