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Published: Wednesday, 3/23/2005

Man receives 7-year term in 2 boys' abuse

DEFIANCE - A 29-year-old Van Wert man pleaded guilty yesterday to two counts of rape for incidents involving two boys, then ages 5 and 10, last year in Defiance County and was sentenced to seven years in prison.

John Willie Deaton of 111 North Race St., whose trial on three counts of rape started Monday, reached a negotiated plea agreement with Defiance County prosecutors after the trial had resumed yesterday. The boys had not yet testified.

"It brought finality for everybody involved," Deaton's lawyer Matt Hutchinson said of the plea agreement.

Deaton was booked into the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio in August and held on a $250,000 cash bond after the boys told a baby-sitter he had raped them. Deaton and the boys knew each other.

He was indicted in September on three counts of rape, each carrying the possibility of life in prison, with consideration for parole after 15 years.

The plea agreement, which dropped one of the rape charges and reduced the years in prison to seven, was reached to spare the boys from testifying and eliminate the risk of appeals, an acquittal, or a hung jury.

Deaton remained in the regional jail yesterday, awaiting another hearing in Defiance County Common Pleas Court on his sexual offender classification, which will determine how often he is required to report to authorities after he is released from prison.

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