Steven Smith
Steven Smith

A West Manheim Township garage owner who's already a registered sex offender has admitted to groping a customer last summer.

Steven Eugene Smith, 59, of 4857 Ruggles Road in Taneytown, Md., pleaded guilty Monday in York County Court to one count of indecent assault, according to court records.

He owns J&S Transmissions at 1761 Baltimore Pike.

His plea was not part of an agreement with prosecutors, meaning it will be up to the presiding judge to determine Smith's punishment, according to deputy prosecutor Chuck Murphy.

Murphy said state sentencing guidelines call for Smith to serve a minimum of between nine and 12 months in prison.

Common Pleas Judge Gregory M. Snyder set Smith's sentencing for May 20, to give the state's sexual offender board time to conduct a Megan's Law sexual offender evaluation, Murphy said.

The assault: West Manheim Township Police said a 24-year-old Adams County woman reported to police she went to J&S to pick up her vehicle on June 1 and, while there, was accosted by Smith.

She told officers Smith forcibly hugged and kissed her, and "touched intimate parts of her body against her wishes," according to police.

She said she'd only been to J&S once before -- more than two years prior to Smith's assault on her -- and didn't otherwise know Smith, according to police.

Initial denial: At the time of his arrest, Smith claimed he knew her from 15 to 20 visits to his garage, but was unable to show investigators proof of that, police said. He admitted to hugging and kissing her while joking around, and denied the other allegations, according to police.

But in court Monday, he admitted he indecently assaulted the woman for his own sexual gratification, according to Murphy.

Smith is registered as a Megan's Law sex offender. Police said he was convicted of second-degree rape in Maryland in 1985.

He declined comment on Monday. His defense attorney, Vincent Monfredo, did not return a message seeking comment.

-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at levans@yorkdispatch.com.