By joe gorman
A Struthers man was sentenced to 10 years in prison Wednesday for abusing the daughter of a relative who was suffering from cancer and later died.
James Fetty, 64, of Poland Avenue, was given credit for over 400 days already served by Judge Lou D’Apolito of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court after he entered guilty pleas July 30 to a charge of rape and counts of gross sexual imposition, importuning and disseminating matter harmful to a juvenile.
Assistant Prosecutor Natasha Frenchko told Judge D’Apolito the victim in the case was abused from the time she was 8 until she was 12 years old. She said the victim herself reported the abuse to authorities.
The victim was living with Fetty from 2005 to 2010 because her father was suffering from cancer and later died, and that is when the abuse occurred, Frenchko said.
The victim was present for Fetty’s plea but could not be there for the sentencing. Her family did send a note saying she was afraid to tell earlier of the abuse because Fetty warned her not to and because she did not want to cause trouble for her father, who was sick at the time.
“She didn’t want to see her dad suffer any more,” the note read.
Frenchko said the victim is in counseling but she still is suffering from the abuse.
“She has asked her family, ‘Why did God let this happen?’” Frenchko told Judge D’Apolito. She said the state was recommending a sentence of 20 years.
When investigators began the case, they found more than 300 images of child pornography at Fetty’s home, Frenchko said.
Fetty’s attorney, James Melone, asked for a more lenient sentence, saying he knew his client would be punished but that he needed help because he was sick. Melone also argued successfully to merge some of the GSI and disseminating charges into one count because the terms in the bill of particulars outlining the counts were too general and did not differentiate between one and another.
Melone said his client cooperated with investigators once he was arrested and has expressed remorse.
“It seems apparent his sickness is driving his behavior,” Melone said.
Fetty apologized to the victim and his family, including his father, who he said had abused him growing up as well.
“I carry a lot of scars from his abuse,” Fetty said.