PORT CLINTON – A 78-year-old man who admitted to a sexual assault that was posted on social media asked Ottawa County Common Pleas Judge Bruce Winters Thursday to give him the minimum three-year sentence, saying no prison term was as bad as the punishment he'd inflicted upon himself.
“The fact is, no matter what sentence you give me, I've already given myself the worst sentence a man could ever have,” said James Allen of Marblehead. “Because for 78 years I've been known as a good man and now in less than one minute in time, in the hearts and minds of my family, my friends, and my business acquaintances, I've changed from good to despicable, and no prison term can ever change that.”
Allen pleaded guilty Oct. 6 to rape – a first-degree felony that carries a mandatory prison sentence of three to 11 years.
Judge Winters sentenced Allen to five years in prison and classified him as a sex offender who must register his address with the county sheriff every 90 days for the rest of his life.
Allen assaulted a 20-year-old in his home Aug. 7 after both of them had been drinking. The victim recorded the attack on her cell phone and posted it on Snapchat, where a friend in Texas saw it and contacted Danbury Township Police.
Allen told the court he was quite intoxicated that night and did not recall committing the offense.
“I did not know anything had happened until the police came at 6 a.m. the next morning,” Allen said. “The police informed me there'd been a video and they also informed me as to what it showed. I did not argue or dispute them because I didn't know for sure.”
After his attorney showed him the video, he said, “I realized that it was completely true. At that point, I took full responsibility for my actions and I still do. There's no doubt in my mind that I committed a crime against her, and there's no justification for it.”
Ottawa County Prosecutor James VanEerten said that as part of the plea agreement, he would not make a sentencing recommendation.
Defense attorney James Popil asked the court for the minimum sentence, citing Allen's lack of criminal history and long career in business. Allen lived much of his life in Texas but moved to Marblehead to manage a resort.
Mr. Popil said Allen and the victim had “a good, positive relationship” until this offense occurred.
“On the night of this incident, he had a momentary lapse of reason, and he is very remorseful for what happened that evening,” Mr. Popil said.
The victim was not in court.
Judge Winters said sentencing laws require him to be consistent with sentences imposed in similar cases for similar offenders.
“I have no similar offenders,” the judge said. “A 78-year-old male convicted of rape – I don't have many of those. So this is a bit of an unusual situation.”
As part of the plea agreement, Judge Winters dismissed an additional count of rape and two counts of sexual battery that stemmed from the same incident.
Mr. Popil said Allen intends to appeal the sentence.
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