Tuesday, April 27, 1999

Mother no help in rape cases

Woman faces life in prison

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        BATAVIA — When a Bethel woman is sentenced this morning for the repeated rapes of her two daughters, it will close one horrific chapter in recent Clermont County judicial history.

        But it might leave open another.

        Prosecutors are hoping the woman, whom The Cincinnati Enquirer is not naming to protect the identities of her children, will provide information against some of the 22 men authorities believe raped the girls over several years.

        The woman, however, has refused to cooperate and still maintains she did nothing criminal, Clermont County Prosecutor Don White said Monday.

        Such cooperation is the only potentially mitigating factor that would persuade prosecutors from arguing for a lengthy jail term.

        The woman, 34, was convicted March 18 of four counts of rape and four counts of felonious assault. She faces life in prison.

        “No question she needs to go to prison,” Mr. White said.

        When asked if there were any circumstances in her defense, Mr. White said: “No, the only thing is her willingness to assist. ... Right after the verdict, we thought that was a strong possibility. We're hoping that she'll offer something that would do that, to mitigate. She's refused so far.”

        No one else has been charged in the case. The statute of limitations for rape is six years, but doesn't go into effect until the victim turns 18. The girls are now 13 and 7.

        The woman's attorney, Michael Kennedy of Batavia, declined comment Monday.

        In his closing argument to the two-week trial, Assistant Prosecutor Daniel Breyer expressed indignation to the jury of nine men and three women, saying he grew up on a farm and not even animals treat their young the way this woman did.

        The defense acknowledged squalid living conditions but denied that any sexual abuse occurred.

        The jury deliberated for about five hours before returning the guilty verdicts. The defendant shook her head as the verdicts were read.

        Mr. Breyer said the daughters were prostituted for, among other things, beer and rent money; and that the mother on occasion held the girls down, instructing one: “Do what he says and get it over with.”

        One of the girls is in foster care, the other in a psychiatric hospital.

        In videotaped testimony, the daughters testified about threats following repeated rapes by their fathers and others. One girl's father is now in prison for rape, the other daughter's father committed suicide in 1997 after being questioned by police.

        The rapes occurred in the early 1990s.

        The woman will be sentenced by Clermont County Common Pleas Court Judge William Walker, who presided over the trial.


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