NEW PARIS — Matthew L. Dudley, 23, of New Paris, was sentenced last week to three year’s community control and mental health and sexual offender evaluations at River City in Hamilton.
Dudley had been found guilty in Preble County Common Pleas court of two counts of gross sexual imposition and two counts rape.
Judge David Abruzzo sentenced Dudley on Tuesday, Aug. 5.
Sexual abuse incidents which began in the fall of 2006 ended with the sentence in a rehabilitation facility for sex offenders. Dudley’s victim spoke in court on Tuesday and said, “I’ve been thinking about what I would say to you for a long time … What you did during those seven and a half years is completely inconceivable. From the time I felt your hands on my body, I knew that there was something very wrong happening, even if I didn’t understand what it was. I was too young to understand what was happening to me and I felt like I couldn’t tell anyone, I’d be so ashamed if I told, plus no one would ever believe me.”
The victim continued her statement, speaking of the abuse and of feeling she had no where “in the house to call safe.”
“Now … we are here, standing in this courtroom with the line clearly drawn. You’ve admitted to what you’ve done and I stand here before you. Maybe you think I’m going to condemn you, maybe you think I’m going to yell at you, maybe you think I will call you names … I am not. I want to finish with this: for as much that has happened, as much that has been said, I know three things. First is this: I may be bitter of heart now, but I will not always be. You deserve forgiveness just as our God forgave us for our sins on that fateful day long ago. One day, I will forgive you. I don’t know how, I don’t know when, but I will. The second is this: You need help. I don’t know what possessed you to do what you did, but whatever it is, you need some help so you never do this to anyone else. I know you want a life of your own, but you must heal first. Third: I will not let what has happened in the past tie me down. I will not let you win in that way. I am strong, beautiful and treasured. I’m not a toy, nor am I a pawn. No one will ever use me for that purpose again, of that I am sure. I will move on with my life,” she said.
Dudley will attend River City’s Sex Offender program in Hamilton where he will receive a mental health evaluation and a sex offender evaluation. Dudley is also required to register as a Tier III Sex Offender every 90 days with the sheriff in whichever county he spends “any significant amount of time,” according to Abruzzo. He will serve the three years of community control with “standard” conditions applying.
If Dudley fails to follow any of the listed conditions of his sentence, he will serve a mandatory two-year term in prison.
“The victim’s wishes were central to the plea agreement in this case: she wanted the defendant … to receive some measure of incarceration/punishment, but not prison; she wanted him to receive sexual abuse counseling/treatment; she wanted him to be a registered sexual offender for the safety and protection of the community; and she wanted to avoid the experience of testifying about such sensitive matters at a public trial,” said Prosecuting Attorney Martin Votel in a written statement.
“The plea agreement accomplished all of these things, with the sex offender treatment program at River City being a 4-6 month, in-patient, lock-down facility.” The facility is known as a “Community-Based Correctional Facility,” run by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
“In sex cases, more than in most, the abilities and wishes of the victim and victim’s family carry much weight when the prosecutor is determining what justice demands. This plea was tailored to the victim’s ability/willingness to testify and to her wishes with respect to punishment and rehabilitation, i.e. treatment. These wishes were balanced with the state’s overall responsibility to protect the public from future crime by the defendant (incarceration and sex offender registration), and to punish the offender for his conduct,” said Votel in his statement.
“The law cannot undo the horror she experienced – but it can perhaps aid her healing by giving her a voice, punishing her offender, and reducing the risk through treatment (and registration) that the defendant will offend again,” he said.
The prosecuting attorney in this case was Valerie Sargent-Eckert, the defense attorney was Edmund Kalil.