A Hillsboro man was sentenced to four and a half years in prison Thursday after being convicted of gross sexual imposition in a jury trial earlier this week.
James Gragg, 34, touched an underage girl inappropriately last October, at first denying the incident, then, after failing a polygraph test, admitting he had, according to court records.
Defense attorney Kathryn Hapner, who represented Gragg, said of all the cases the court has seen, “this is not one of the worst,” asking Highland County Common Pleas Judge Rocky Coss to be lenient with Gragg’s sentence.
Coss said that as a judge he only has authority to order the maximum sentence – five years in prison, according to Ohio Revised Code – if it’s proven the defendant committed the worst form of the offense.
“I think all these offenses are the worst, period,” he said. “I don’t have much consideration for sex offenders.”
Coss said many offenses, sexual or otherwise, often do not affect the offender as much as the victim or the families of those involved.
Additionally, Coss said, the victim in this case had to relive the incident while testifying in the trial, which often compounds the trauma.
“In this type of incident, [the impact on the child] never goes away,” Coss said, “It’s not something that’s easy to deal with.”
Gragg is now registered as a Tier-II sex offender, according to court documents.
Coss said a consensus among medical professionals is that sex offenders have deep-rooted problems that generally aren’t curable and the only way to deal with those problems is avoiding opportunities to give in to temptation.
“Most sex offenders … are male,” Coss said, “and seldom is it a one-time event.”
In other news, William Blake, 50, Dayton, was sentenced to a year and a half in prison after pleading guilty in two separate cases to receiving stolen property, a fourth-degree felony, and possession of heroin, a fifth-degree felony.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.