Pleas offered in child rape cases

Staff report


Two family members pleaded guilty Thursday to charges they engaged in sexual conduct with three other family members under the age of 13.

Paul Van Pelt, 33, of Shelby, Ohio, entered guilty pleas to two counts of attempted gross sexual imposition and Matthew Van Pelt, 34, of Plymouth, Ohio, entered guilty pleas to five counts of gross sexual imposition.

The indictment did not specify their relationship.

Sentencing is Nov. 8 before Judge John M. Durkin of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

The two are accused of engaging in sex acts with the relatives between 1997 and 2003, according to court documents.

Paul Van Pelt originally was indicted on four counts of gross sexual imposition and two counts of rape, and Matthew Van Pelt was indicted on 15 counts of rape and two counts of gross sexual imposition.

The maximum sentence for gross sexual imposition is 18 months in prison while a 12-month term is the maximum for the attempted gross sexual- imposition charge.

A county grand jury indicted the pair April 14, 2011.

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