A Shelton man accused of paying a teenager to assault a girl who was bullying his daughter took a plea deal in the case Friday in exchange for probation.
The man, Philip Prokop, pleaded guilty under the Alford doctrine to conspiracy to commit third-degree assault and second-degree reckless endangerment before Judge Karen Sequino at Superior Court in Derby. Both charges are misdemeanors.
Under Alford, a defendant does not admit all the facts in the case but concedes there is enough evidence for conviction at trial.
Police said that in late May Prokop paid a 17-year-old girl $21 to fight a 13-year-old girl he believed was bullying his daughter.
The fight allegedly took place May 26 in front of the Sassafras Diner.
During the fracas, police said that Prokop grabbed another teen to stop her from getting involved in the fight.
He had originally faced charges of inciting injury to a person and risk of injury to a minor, both felonies, but the charges were reduced Friday as part of the plea deal.
Prokop had asserted his innocence since his first court appearance in the case in July, and criticized the police investigation of the case, saying officers never took his side of the story.
Outside the courthouse Friday, he said that he was taking the deal to avoid the uncertainty and expense of a trial.
Judge Sequino sentenced Prokop to a suspended 18-month prison sentence and two years of probation.
While on probation, Judge Sequino ordered Prokop to stay away from the alleged bully and not threaten or harass the girl. She also ordered him to undergo a psychiatric evaluation and any treatment deemed necessary.
Outside the courtroom, Prokop’s lawyer, Frank Riccio, said taking the plea deal “relieves all the parties involved of having to go through a trial.”
“There’s no need to put his daughter through that, or the victim, for that matter,” Riccio said.
“The disposition, with an Alford plea, appears to be fair,” Riccio said. “It would be unfortunate to have to air the dirty laundry of this case in a public forum, so this seems to be the next best result.”
The alleged bully is represented by a lawyer, prosecutor Marjorie Sozanski said in court, and was in agreement with Prokop getting probation in the case.