Wife of prominent Democrat gets off lightly
Erica Suskie, initially accused of sexually assaulting a friend of her son, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor indecent exposure on Thursday in an arrangement that requires her to register as a sex offender but keeps her from being labeled a felon.
The boy's parents were consulted on the plea. Chief deputy prosecutor John Johnson reduced the original first-degree sexual assault charge to the misdemeanor count.
Indecent exposure carries at most a year in jail.
Suskie, who turned 44 last month, was sentenced to spend that time on probation and pay a $2,500 fine, plus continue unspecified counseling. She cannot appeal.
Suskie's Feb. 2 arrest was notable in part because her husband is Paul Suskie, a former elected city attorney for North Little Rock, a former Democratic candidate for attorney general and a former chairman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission.
Paul Suskie, who turns 45 next Monday, held his wife's hand as they left the courtroom and walked by news cameras on Thursday after the hearing. The couple, who have two children, will mark their 21st wedding anniversary in two weeks.
As a first offender, Erica Suskie can have the case expunged once she completes her sentence.
According to an arrest affidavit released after her arrest, authorities learned that there was something going on between Suskie and the boy in late October. He told police that she had been having sex with him since April 2015, when he was 16.
Suskie, a friend of the boy's family, had contacted him through his mother in January or February of 2015 to tutor her son in algebra, but she then asked him to tutor her so she could help her son with his math.
The affidavit states that "numerous incidents" of sexual contact and intercourse occurred at the Suskie home on Timber Creek Circle and at the Sherwood home of Suskie's parents.