MINERAL RIDGE Juvenile's rapist gets 80 to life in prison
The young woman said she broke her silence to protect another female juvenile.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- A 41-year-old Mineral Ridge man will spend at least 80 years in prison for raping a female juvenile.
Judge Andrew Logan of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court sentenced Mark Heilman on Tuesday to 80 years to life in prison. If released from prison, Heilman would have to register as a sexual predator.
Heilman was convicted last month of 28 rape counts, two counts of gross sexual imposition, 21 counts of pandering obscenity involving minors and possessing obscenity involving minors.
The crimes occurred in Niles and Weathersfield.
The victim, who testified during the trial that the abuse began when she was 10, told the court that she suffers from nightmares and flashbacks.
"I will always carry terrible memories and mental images with me," she said. "I missed out on having a life. I missed out on being a child. I will spend my entire life trying to get over all of the abuse."
The young woman said Heilman, who lived in the home, would force her to have sex by taking items such as her flute or curling iron away and making her "earn them back." She said she kept the abuse a secret for so many years because she was afraid of what he would do if she told.
At 18, she finally broke her silence because she worried Heilman would start to abuse another female juvenile, the woman said.
Heilman maintained his innocence, contending that the "only lies that were told were told by the prosecution and prosecution witnesses."
But he said he harbors no bitterness toward the court, jury or the woman.
Thanks family, church members
From the front of the courtroom, Heilman told his wife and his parents that he loves them and thanked them and members of his church for their support. Family members sobbed during his statement.
In seeking the sexual predator designation for Heilman, Thomas Wrenn, an assistant Trumbull County prosecutor, said that the sexual activity sometimes occurred several times per week and that Heilman threatened to prevent the girl from attending college if she told anyone.
"He's not just cruel; he's evil," Wrenn said.
The judge said that Heilman handed his victim a life sentence as well.
"In my 12 years on the bench, I've never seen a more outrageous set of circumstances," Judge Logan said.
Heilman and Atty. Dan Keating, who represented Heilman at trial, told the judge they plan to appeal.