Plea deal leaves rapist free pending sentencing

By Peter H. Milliken


A 53-year-old man, who has spent nearly four years in jail and prison, was ordered freed on his own recognizance pending sentencing after pleading no contest to four counts of raping his former girlfriend in June 2007.

Carl Chaney, of Hubbard Road, was convicted by a jury of those counts in May 2008. Former Judge Timothy E. Franken of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court sentenced him to 10 years in prison and fined him $5,000.

In March 2010, however, the 7th District Court of Appeals ordered a new trial for Chaney, saying the prosecution made improper references during its cross-examination of Chaney and its closing argument to Chaney’s refusal to give police a statement after his arrest.

The appellate court noted that Judge Franken failed to tell the jury to disregard the prosecutor’s comments.

Judge Lou A. D’Apolito ordered Chaney released after taking his plea Tuesday.

In this week’s plea agreement, Natasha Frenchko, an assistant county prosecutor, agreed to recommend that Chaney be sentenced to the time he has already served. Sentencing is set for 9 a.m. April 22.

Frenchko could not be reached to comment on why she agreed to the plea deal.

The available sentencing range for rape, a first-degree felony, is three to 10 years in prison on each count. Sentences on multiple counts may be imposed concurrently or consecutively.

After he was released from Mahoning County jail on Tuesday, Chaney was taken to Trumbull County jail on a 2008 bench warrant from that county’s family court for failure to appear there in a civil nonpayment-of-child-support case.

Since that warrant was issued while Chaney was incarcerated and unable to pay, Magistrate Scott Bombeck ordered Chaney released from jail after a Wednesday hearing if no other jurisdictions had any cases in which he was to be jailed.

The magistrate, however, ordered Chaney to comply with terms of the child-support order.

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