Man sentenced for relationship with 13-year-old

By John W. Goodwin Jr.


A 22-year-old Youngs-town man will spend 18 months in prison and 25 years as a registered sex offender for his inappropriate relationship with a 13-year-old girl.

Rontrell White appeared for sentencing Friday before Visiting Judge Thomas J. Pokorny in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court on one count of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and failure to register as a sex offender.

During the sentencing hearing, White confirmed his feelings for the girl, telling the court he will always love her.

White, who was convicted of a sex crime as a juvenile and required to register as a sex offender, started a relationship with the girl and was told by her family to leave her alone. White refused. Police believe he was planning to take the girl to Columbus when he was arrested.

The child’s mother pleaded with the court to keep White away from her daughter after he is released from prison. She said White was told on multiple occasions her daughter was 13 and to stay away, but he would still come to her home and school.

The mother said White even went so far as to threaten members of her family.

“He has taken something from her she can never get back,” the woman said. “I didn’t worry about my daughter before. I am terrified now. This hurts me to my soul.”

Michael McBride, an assistant county prosecutor, asked the court to impose the 18-month sentence as recommended in the plea agreement with White.

“We believe the defendant’s actions have shown that he is not amenable to [probation]. ... He is someone who needs to be incarcerated,” he said.

Atty. Mark Verkhlin, representing White, pointed out his client has no arrest as an adult.

“He regrets his decision. He regrets everything he has done. He has been incarcerated for seven months, and he has had time to think about this,” Verkhlin said.

He asked the judge to place his client on some form of probation.

White, when given a chance to speak, gave an apology but then professed his love for the girl.

Judge Pokorny said the court must consider the fact that White has a previous sex-crime conviction and was a registered sex offender at the time of the incident.

“There is a pattern starting here with regard to your treatment of the opposite sex,” he told White.

In addition to the sentence, the judge ruled White cannot live near a school or day-care facility upon his release from prison.

White will receive credit for the seven months he has spent in the county jail.

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