Plea deal nets former DQ owner 5 years’ probation
By Elise Franco
Trent Rapp, former owner of the Canfield Dairy Queen, won’t spend time behind bars for crimes he pleaded to in January.
Rapp, 44, pleaded no contest and was found guilty of marijuana trafficking, cocaine possession, corrupting another with drugs, possessing criminal tools, illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material and two counts of pandering sexually oriented material.
In the plea deal, seven other counts of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material, two counts of pandering sexually oriented matter and one count of furnishing a false identification card or driver’s license were dropped.
He was sentenced Wednesday before Judge Maureen A. Sweeney of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court to five years’ probation, 500 hours of community service during each sanctioned year, and a $5,000 fine.
In addition, Rapp is to attend a community-based sex offender treatment program and register as a Tier 1 sex offender, which means he must register every year for 15 years. He’s also to have no contact with the victim in the case.
Judge Sweeney said if he violates any part of his sentence he could face 81/2 years in prison.
Rapp was arrested at the DQ on July 23, 2009, but police said all the crimes occurred at Rapp’s Beaver Township residence. The drugs and computer images of child pornography were found when police executed a search warrant in January 2009, at Rapp’s home.
Atty. Sam Amendolara, who represents Rapp, said a nonprison sentence was appropriate for his client. Amendolara brought forward about eight people — current and former Dairy Queen employees, Rapp’s mother, his church pastor and several friends — who gave statements about Rapp.
“Trent Rapp has been portrayed as the boogeyman of Canfield,” Amendolara said. “... Here we have honest, church-going, God-fearing people who aren’t afraid to allow their children around [Rapp].”
Amendolara also talked about the victim’s character and said anything Rapp did for the victim was nothing more than Rapp’s being a kind person. He said Rapp recently paid for the victim to stay in a Canfield motel and drove him to a rehabilitation facility last week.
The victim didn’t appear in court Wednesday and was confirmed by the lawyers to be in a rehabilitation facility.
“The victim is in and out of rehab and is a heroin addict, and [the prosecution] wants to blame that on Trent Rapp,” he said. “I’m not vilifying him, just getting facts straight.”
Nick Brevetta, an assistant county prosecutor, said Amendolara’s account of Rapp’s relationship with the victim is skewed. He said Rapp continued to make contact with the victim after his indictment, indeed paying for a hotel room and allegedly driving him to Youngstown to purchase drugs.
“It amazes me that they blame this child for everything wrong in Rapp’s life,” Brevetta said. “But [Rapp] can’t let go of it and say, ‘No more. You’re causing me problems.’”