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TRUMBULL COUNTY Judge sentences 2 sex offenders



Published: Fri, August 16, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



A 10-year-old rape victim said she feels 'safer and happier' since the defendant has been incarcerated.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- A judge in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court sentenced two sex offenders to several years in prison Thursday.

In unrelated cases, Judge John Stuard sentenced Edward Clark, a 58-year-old retired college professor from Asheville, N.C., to 15 years in prison, and Nicole Harris, 18, of Thalia Avenue, Youngstown, to three years in prison during brief hearings Thursday.

Clark pleaded guilty in June to five counts of rape, three counts of gross sexual imposition and five counts of pandering obscenity. Clark could have received 20 years in prison, said Thomas Wrenn, an assistant county prosecutor. Wrenn said Clark's victim is now 10. He said the victim knew Clark and the rapes began when the girl was about 8.

The girl told the judge, before sentencing, that she feels "safer and happier" now that Clark is incarcerated.

"I hope he never gets out of jail and never hurts any other kids," the victim said, as she read from a statement. "The Christian way is to ask for forgiveness for him, and that is what I will do."

Clark once taught English at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C.

Investigators found pornographic pictures and a short video on Clark's computer, said Wrenn. A search by the North Carolina Bureau of Criminal Investigation found thousands more in his home, he said.

Second case

Harris, who pleaded guilty to one charge of rape last month, admitted having sexual contact with a 1-year-old boy she was baby-sitting in November in Warren.

Harris had been facing three counts of rape, but Wrenn agreed to drop two of the charges in exchange for her guilty plea.

Wrenn said Harris could have faced 10 years in prison.

Atty. Anthony Consoldane of the public defender's commission said his client has a low IQ and had sexual contact with the child after she was dared by some friends.

Police said they were told that Harris had sexual contact with the baby on several occasions. Harris was staying at the Belmont Northwest home with the baby and his mother for a few weeks, police said.

sinkovich@vindy.com




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