Probation for man who had sex with 13-year-old West York girl

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
Muhammad Shahab

A Dauphin County man has avoided prison time for having sex with a 13-year-old West York girl.

Muhammad Shahab, 19, of Steelton, pleaded guilty in York County Court on Monday, March 18, to the second-degree felony of statutory sexual assault and was sentenced to four years of probation, according to court records.

In exchange for his plea, charges including involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child under 16 and unlawful contact with a minor were dismissed, court records state.

Shahab also was ordered to complete sexual-offender treatment and abide by York County sex-offender probation conditions, records state.

Presiding Common Pleas Judge Harry M. Ness ordered Shahab to have no contact with the girl.

Defense attorney Chris Ferro said his client accepts full responsibility for his actions.

"This is a young man with a bright future who unfortunately fell into a trap of online dating that led him to a girl who he later found out had lied about her age," Ferro told The York Dispatch. "(He) is now moving forward with finishing his education, along with learning this painful and valuable lesson."

According to Ferro, Shahab met the girl on an online dating site that requires participants to be 18 years old.

The background: West York Police said Shahab had sex with the girl in her home in early May 2018.

Court documents indicate he and the girl met on an online dating site and that her dating profile indicated she was 13.

They met in person at a gas station near the girl's home on May 6, while her mother was at church, according to police.

They then went to her home and had sex in her bedroom, court documents state. Afterward, Shahab told her she was being "too clingy" and he left, police said.

But before leaving, he asked the girl for her email address and said he wanted to keep talking to her, according to court documents, which state he instructed the girl to delete his messages.

Family friend charged: At the time of Shahab's arrest, West York Police said a family friend told the girl she was ready for sex, gave her a cellphone to use and instructed the girl to lie to police about what happened between her and Shahab so no one would get in trouble, according to court documents.

That family "friend" also coached the girl on how to destroy the police case against Shahab, documents state.

Police identified him as Derrick Leonard, 49, also of West York. He remains in York County Prison in lieu of $10,000 bail, charged with corruption of a minor.

More:Police: West York man kept teen sex assault a secret

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.