Ohio adoptive father pleads guilty to child rape
DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — An adoptive father in Ohio who could spend the rest of his life in prison for raping three boys in his care pleaded guilty Thursday to another child rape charge and agreed to testify against a man he allegedly allowed to rape one of his adopted sons.
The 40-year-old man, a long-time foster parent and youth basketball coach, pleaded guilty to one count each of child rape and complicity to rape in a Montgomery County court in Dayton. Under a plea agreement, prosecutors dropped five other charges against him in exchange for his testimony against a co-defendant.
Sentencing was tentatively set for Feb. 26. The plea agreement calls for a total sentence of 50 years to life in prison.
The Troy man previously pleaded guilty in Miami County to raping three boys in his care, and was sentenced Monday to 60 years to life in prison. He also agreed in that case to testify in the Miami County trial next month of a man he allegedly invited to come to his home to rape one of his adopted sons, then 10.
The Associated Press isn't naming the father to protect the children's identities. He adopted three children, ages 9-12, including a girl, and was in the process of adopting a third boy when he was arrested in February.
Wearing a blue jail jumpsuit in court Thursday, the man answered "Yes, ma'am," and "No, ma'am" to questions from Montgomery Common Pleas Judge Mary Katherine Huffman. When asked how he pleads, he quickly responded: "Guilty."
The judge warned him that the plea agreement would be nullified if he didn't cooperate and testify truthfully.
Prosecutors have said one important reason they agreed to the deal was to avoid having the children testify.
Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. called the man a child abuser who "will basically spend the rest of his natural life locked up and that certainly is a good disposition."
The sentence in Montgomery County is to run concurrently with his Miami County sentence.
A lawyer for the man said his client also doesn't want the children to have to testify.
"I think there's always an initial shock (over prison time) but we talked about these issues," defense attorney Nick Gounaris said. "It would affect anybody, but I think he came to grips with it and ultimately the most important goal was that the children not have to testify."
The man originally was charged with 31 counts of felony rape in Miami County, where he was caring for the children. State records show the children were from Texas and were placed with him by a private Ohio adoption agency that is part of an interstate compact to help match children with adoptive parents. Ohio authorities reviewed the case and decided not to suspend or revoke the agency's license. The agency has said it did not wrong in handling the adoptions.
Miami County prosecutors agreed last month to drop 25 counts and recommend the sentence of 60 years to life in prison in return for the guilty pleas and his agreement to cooperate in other cases. The man could have faced life in prison without the possibility for parole.
The man told The Associated Press in a recent interview that he was sorry for hurting the children.
Jason Zwick, 30, of Beavercreek is scheduled for trial Jan. 8 in Miami County on three counts of raping a minor under 13. A judge has ruled that the alleged victim can testify by closed-circuit TV.
Patrick Rieder, 32, of Dayton was indicted on four counts of rape of a child under 13. He was later indicted on charges including more than 40 counts of pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor. His trial is set for Feb. 19.
Authorities say they made the arrests after an investigation that began with an undercover detective checking into an online posting about "taboo sex."
Dan Sewell can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/dansewell