A former Wilkinsburg High School security guard was sentenced today to three years' probation and a lifetime of registering as a sex offender after pleading guilty to the sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl.
Michael Tolbert, 27, of Garfield, pleaded guilty to institutional sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor and indecent assault before Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jill E. Rangos.
According to police, Tolbert and the girl exchanged more than 1,000 text messages, some which included graphic sexual images.
The girl told investigators Tolbert kissed her in the school during school hours.
Her mother contacted police on Nov. 21 after she found a number in her daughter's phone she didn't recognize.
Defense attorney Robert Mielnicki said his client had never been in trouble before and that the man never had sex with the girl.
"The relationship started with Facebook banter back and forth," Mr. Mielnicki said. "There was never intercourse. Their clothes never came off."
Still, the defense continued: "There's no excuse for it."
Judge Rangos ordered the probation, registering under Pennsylvania's Megan's Law and no contact with the victim.
Because of the felony conviction, Tolbert will not be able to work around children, deputy district attorney Laura Ditka said.
Paula Reed Ward: email@example.com or 412-263-2620.