LANCASTER, Pa. — A Lancaster man was convicted last week of two felony charges after a jury determined he messaged a 14-year-old girl online to arrange a meeting for sexual contact, according to the Lancaster County District Attorney's Office.
Jyptian Grooms, 22, was found guilty of unlawful contact with a minor and corruption of minors for his actions in March 2019. Prosecutors presented evidence that Grooms contacted the girl on Facebook and requested to meet with her for sex, the DA's office said.
Groom sent the girl numerous messages, prosecutors said. In the messages, the girl told Grooms she was 15 (she was actually 14 at the time), and Grooms acknowledged he knew the girl’s age.
According to testimony, Grooms used the Facebook profile name, “ru jr,” to contact the victim.
There was testimony that the two met and had sexual contact; Grooms testified there was sexual contact. However, the DA's office said, the jury was hung on counts of statutory sexual assault and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse.
The Commonwealth has the option of retrying those counts, the DA's office said.
Lancaster County President Judge David Ashworth, who presided over the trial, will sentence Grooms on the first- and third-degree felonies after a background investigation is completed.
At the verdict, Ashworth raised Grooms’ bail to $500,000 cash. Bail was not posted.
Assistant District Attorney Fritz Haverstick told jurors in closing argument that the law in Pennsylvania protects children, “even from their own poor decisions.”
“The simple truth of this case is that (Grooms) knew she was [a child], but he wanted something from her,” ADA Haverstick said in closing.
The victim, now 16, also testified, according to the DA's office.