BRYAN -- A Williams County man was found guilty of three counts of rape today.
Williams County Common Pleas Court Judge J.T. Stelzer found Daniel Bignell, 40, of Montpelier guilty of raping three children over a period of 9 years, from 2001 to 2010, after the defendant made an Alford plea. The plea acknowledges evidence exists to lead to a conviction while still maintaining innocence.
Bignell entered the plea during a jury trial that began Monday. The Ohio Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Section handled the case.
A September indictment included five rape counts, two counts of attempted rape, four counts of gross sexual imposition, and three kidnapping counts that each carried a sexual motivation specification.
As part of the plea agreement, the other charges were dropped, according to Attorney General spokesman Jill Del Greco.
Each rape count carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison for a total of 30 years, though the prosecution will recommend a 15-year sentence as part of the agreement, she said.
The sentencing date is Jan. 9, 2014.
The crimes began when each child was 13-years-old or younger and came to light after one of the victims, now an adult, came forward.