An 18-year-old in Highland County Juvenile Court on Friday admitted to sexual offenses that occurred nearly four years ago against a juvenile six years his junior.
Judge Kevin Greer said he could have been charged as an adult, due to the nature of the offenses and because the victim was less than 13 years old at the time, even though the incidents occurred when the defendant was a juvenile.
What was charged in a complaint filed in recent months was rape and gross sexual imposition. The acts that led to the complaint happened in 2012, Greer said. The now-18-year-old admitted to those offenses.
The judge followed the agreement reached between the state and defense, which had also been approved by the victim’s family, assistant prosecutor Molly Bolek said.
As per that agreement, the teen was ordered to successfully complete sex offender treatment at the Miami Valley Juvenile Rehabilitation Center. He has a minimum two-year suspended commitment to the Department of Youth Services (DYS), which is the prison system for youth.
If he successfully completes the treatment program, he will be on probation until the court decides differently, or until he turns 21. Additionally, the court will determine upon his release if he is to register as a juvenile sex offender.
The victim’s father emotionally addressed the teen, telling him that his actions have hurt many people, including the defendant’s own family. “It hurts me every day,” he said, adding that his child has to live with it every day.
“I’ve asked myself over and over again if I could forgive you,” the victim’s father said, but he said he didn’t know if or when that would happen.
“I think the decision you made today is the best for everybody,” he said.
The 18-year-old watched the father as he spoke, tears coming from his own eyes. “I’m very sorry,” he said.
The victim’s grandmother also addressed the teen, telling him to “make this right” for every person affected by what occurred.
She said that while forgiveness won’t come today, it will come, and she noted that things had come a long way with all involved since the case began.
“You really have affected a lot of people in your life,” Greer said. “You can make it better … or you can make it worse.”
“This type of behavior is very hard to correct,” and those who commit such offenses often re-offend, the judge said.
“Listen to them,” Greer said of the treatment facility staff, adding that how successful the teen is in treatment is entirely up to him.
“Hopefully, time will be (the victim’s) friend” in healing, Greer said.
In other delinquency hearings this week, two boys, both 13 years old, previously arrested following reports of property destruction at a veterans organization, have admitted to felony charges stemming from the October incident.
Both boys have been in detention since their arrests last month.
One of the boys had other pending cases with the court and admitted to charges in those cases as well, which included fifth-degree felony breaking and entering, two counts of misdemeanor theft, and one count of receiving stolen property. On the more recent case, he admitted to fifth-degree felony breaking and entering. A charge of vandalism was dismissed.
He was ordered to serve 90 days at a Troy detention facility and also has a suspended commitment to DYS. Once released from detention, he will be on indefinite community control and must perform 40 hours of community service. He is also to pay restitution.
The co-defendant admitted to fifth-degree felony breaking and entering and to receiving stolen property. As with the other boy, a count of vandalism was dismissed.
He was also ordered to perform 40 hours of community service, to pay restitution, and will be on community control indefinitely. However, he was allowed to be released to his family on the day of the hearing.
With both boys, their community service is to be performed at, and “under the guidance” of, the veterans organization that their actions directly impacted.
“I hope it’s not easy for you there,” Greer told each boy. “It’s a very serious matter to me … that you would disrespect veterans. And they are going to talk to you about that. Listen to what they have to say. Hopefully you will learn some valuable lessons.”
In other hearings, a 13-year-old boy admitted to violating his probation by not attending school. He was previously found delinquent for assault and criminal trespass charges, all misdemeanor offenses.
He remains on probation indefinitely and now has a suspended commitment to out-of-home placement.
A 15-year-old girl admitted to possessing marijuana and drug paraphernalia and was ordered to perform community service and also to undergo a substance abuse assessment.
Arrest warrants were issued this week for two teenagers, ages 15 and 17, who each failed to appear for hearings. While the younger boy has been arrested and is currently in custody at a juvenile detention center, the older boy remains at large. The boys’ pending cases involve school truancy.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.
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