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Toledoan gets life inprison for 1993 rape of girl, 10

Consecutive sentence would be served before release on possible parole in 10 years

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Bradley Roberts appears at his sentencing in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

The Blade/Dave Zapotosky
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Vowing to do whatever possible to ensure Bradley Roberts remains behind bars, a Lucas County Common Pleas Court judge sentenced the Toledo man Friday to life in prison for the 1993 kidnapping and rape of a 10-year-old girl.

“I can’t imagine that any adult is anything but a coward to prey on a child and child predators have no place in our society,” Judge James Jensen said.

“So long as I’m alive and capable, this will be my position to the parole board, that you should never walk free again.”

Roberts, 44, was given the mandatory sentence of life imprisonment because the victim was less than 13 years old. Sentenced using the laws in place at the time of the crime, Roberts must serve at least 10 years on the rape charge before being eligible for parole.

The judge also ordered Roberts to serve four to 10 years for a count of gross sexual imposition, consecutive to the rape count. A conviction on a kidnapping charge was merged with the rape conviction.

“You stole her childhood, her innocence, her trust of adults. You scarred her for life,” the judge said. “… Now you face life in prison for this unforgivable and heinous act.”

Roberts was found guilty by a jury May 10 of one count each of rape, kidnapping, and gross sexual imposition. He was convicted of attacking the young girl as she rode her bike in a wooded Sylvania Township area and sexually assaulting her.

The victim, now 28, was tearful as her attacker was sentenced to life. She declined to speak during the court proceeding but said afterward she was relieved the man who’d eluded being identified for nearly two decades was finally held accountable.

She also expressed sympathy to Roberts’ family, who were not present Friday. He’s a father of three.

“I feel bad for his family, but he wasn’t thinking of them when he attacked me,” she said. “He did this to them, not me.”

A jury of 10 women and two men heard evidence from nine witnesses over two days, including testimony from the victim. They saw aerial photos of the wooded area, just yards from Hill View Elementary and Arbor Hills Junior High School, where the July 9, 1993, assault occurred.

The victim testified during the trial how she was riding her bike, the first time she had been given permission to go somewhere alone, to the fields about a mile away from her house when she was attacked and raped by a man who covered her face and threatened her not to tell.

She was 10 years old at the time.

The Blade does not identify victims of sexual assault.

Jeff Lingo, chief of the criminal division of the prosecutor’s office, said the victim’s willingness to relive her violent attack resulted in a sexual predator being locked behind bars.

“She is a courageous young woman who waited very patiently and when the chance for justice arrived, she showed incredible courage,” he said. “Though it’s been 17 years, justice has been weeded out, and with her help, a dangerous person has been removed from Lucas County.”

Although the victim reported the crime immediately and evidence was collected, the case remained unsolved for many years. In early 2010, Sylvania Township detectives sent the collected evidence for analysis, citing advances in technology.

Roberts was charged in November after a DNA test of the rape kit identified him as a suspect. His DNA had been collected and entered into a statewide database because of previous convictions.

According to court records, Roberts was sentenced in May, 2001, to three years in prison after pleading no contest to four counts of corruption of a minor and one count of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.

In May, 2002, he was granted judicial release and placed on five years community control.

In 2006, Roberts was arrested on burglary and theft charges. He was sentenced in June, 2007, to three years in prison for violating his community control, sentences that ran concurrent to prison terms imposed in the theft and burglary cases.

As part of his felony convictions, Roberts was to submit DNA.

During the trial, a DNA analyst testified that when compared, Roberts’ DNA was found to be “consistent” with DNA found on the victim. More specifically, the likelihood of anyone else having this profile is one in 1.197 billion, or nearly 10 times the male U.S. population.

Roberts did not make a statement out loud during his sentencing but made an obscene hand gesture toward the media photographing him and as he was led from court and made profane statements to the detectives who solved the case.

He did lean over and spoke briefly to his attorney, John Thebes, who in turn, relayed to Judge Jensen that Roberts maintained his innocence.

As part of his sentence, Roberts was labeled a Tier 3 sexual offender and upon release from prison will be required to register with the local sheriff every 90 days for life.

In addition, Judge Jensen ordered that any community where Roberts lives be notified that he is a sexual offender.

The victim was surrounded by family and friends who congratulated her for her persistence and courage..

“It took years for that [10-year-old] to come around to living a normal life. She’s going to continue to suffer,” her grandmother said. “Hopefully, she’ll feel more secure now that he’s put away.”

Contact Erica Blake at: eblake@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.

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