The sexual abuse that Kevin Ware was convicted of inflicting on a 7-year-old girl entrusted to his care not only brought harsh words from a Lucas County Common Pleas judge but also tears to her eyes.
Judge Stacy Cook sentenced Ware to three consecutive life sentences in prison yesterday for the long-term abuse of the girl. The sentence was handed down moments after the 29-year-old Toledo man entered an Alford plea to three counts of rape of a child under 10 years old.
"You are a monster. You are the worst possible kind of monster. You are the kind of person that brings out the worst possible fears in the hearts and minds of every parent," Judge Cook told Ware.
"I listened to your childhood. And although I cry for you as a child, you are clearly escalating in abhorrent sexual behavior," the judge said.
For two years, Ware cared for the girl in his East Manhattan Boulevard apartment that he shared with his mother. The mother of the victim said she trusted him and did not know anything was wrong until her daughter approached her in April, 2007, and said she was being touched inappropriately.
In fact, Ware committed several types of sex acts with the girl, who was between the ages of 5 and 7 during the abuse, Assistant County Prosecutor Jennifer Lambdin said.
"He raped this little girl every way a person can be raped," Ms. Lambdin told the judge. "If any person deserves consecutive sentences, it's this man. Don't let him be paroled as a young man."
Ware was arrested May 3 at his apartment after Toledo police investigated the girl's statement that included descriptions of assaults. She also said she witnessed Ware having sex with his mother, Terry Walker, who was convicted of gross sexual imposition and sentenced by Judge Ruth Ann Franks in August to four years in prison.
As part of Ware's plea agreement, two counts of illegal use of a minor in nudity oriented material and pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor were dismissed. Ms. Lambdin said investigators found several images of child pornography and photos of the nude victim.
In an Alford plea, a defendant maintains innocence or does not admit committing a crime, but pleads guilty because he decides it's in his best interest. The court treats it the same as a guilty plea.
Assistant County Prosecutor Robert Miller said that one reason the plea was offered was to avoid forcing the young victim to testify at a trial. He added that the type of abuse she sustained "is going to affect her quite a bit for the rest of her life."
"She'll never be the same but at least she doesn't have to go through a trial," he said. "At least now she has a chance at finality and closure and the chance to get counseling."
Ware, along with his four siblings, was removed from Walker's custody nearly 25 years ago and adopted by a couple in Florida.
As a juvenile, he was convicted of attempting to rape his adoptive father's second wife and sentenced to an intensive therapy program.
At age 21, he sought out his birth mother in Toledo.
Defense attorney Jack Viren outlined for Judge Cook Ware's dysfunctional past, including sexual abuse he said Ware suffered at the hands of his older brother. He said Ware has long suffered from severe depression and has been suicidal.
Ware's step-mother, and the victim of his attempted rape, said by telephone from Florida that she was relieved that he "is off the street." She added that since Ware "will never be healed," at least he is "in a place where he can never hurt anybody again."
"He is where he needs to be," she said. "He cannot ever again harm a little child."
The victim's mother hugged her little girl after the court hearing and told her that she loved her. She said that Ware was a "monster" and that her daughter will forever be scarred.
"I trusted him and he betrayed that trust," she said. "I'm just glad he got the sentence that he got and that justice was served."
Contact Erica Blake at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-213-2134.