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COURT Man's rape conviction carries extra penalties



Published: Tue, August 30, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Rupp told the judge he's innocent.

By ROGER G. SMITH

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Despite his role in helping a cop killer briefly escape town, Forrest A. Rupp could have stayed out of prison if he'd kept his nose clean.

His sentencing Monday on a rape conviction, however, triggered several latent penalties that will leave him in prison a few years longer than even the decade he will spend locked up for rape.

Judge Jack Durkin sentenced Rupp in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court to the maximum 10 years in prison on the rape conviction. Friday, a jury convicted Rupp, 25, of Poland, on one of two rape counts.

The victim asked Judge Durkin to impose the maximum sentence, saying Rupp has no remorse. The victim said she suffers from nightmares and remains in counseling. Rupp told the judge only that he maintains his innocence.

Jurors couldn't reach a decision on the other rape count. Prosecutors haven't decided whether to retry Rupp on that charge, which also would bring 10 years in prison.

The rape conviction kicks in several penalties from Rupp's criminal past.

Parole violations

Judge Durkin took care of one of those Monday, sentencing him to 870 days -- just short of 2 1/2 years -- for violating parole on a 1999 aggravated robbery conviction. Rupp had been on probation until 2007 for the robbery. The rape conviction violated that probation, however.

The parole violation sentence is to be served after the rape sentence.

The rape conviction also means an automatic violation of Rupp's parole on an obstruction of justice conviction related to the cop killing, prosecutors say.

Rupp admitted helping Martin L. Koliser Jr. in the hours after Koliser fatally shot Youngstown Patrolman Michael T. Hartzell in April 2003.

Judge James C. Evans sentenced Rupp to three years in prison on the obstruction charge. He served about 90 days and started three years' probation after his release in November 2003. The rape occurred four months later.

Because of the rape conviction, Rupp faces about a year in prison for violating parole on the obstruction charge. A hearing on that violation was to be Monday but was postponed.

Rupp faces more charges next month.

Trial is set for Sept. 14 on vandalism charges related to his stay in the Mahoning County jail. A grand jury indicted him in May on five counts of vandalism and three counts of disrupting public services. All are fifth-degree felonies that carry a maximum of one year in prison. The indictment says Rupp caused damage to county property on April 19 and that he also damaged or tampered with property that disrupted public services.

Meanwhile, deputy sheriffs say Rupp also damaged items at the jail this weekend, after the jury convicted him in the rape case.

rgsmith@vindy.com




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