By Joe Gorman
An Austintown woman was sentenced to 25 years in prison Thursday after pleading guilty to a bill of information charging her with raping two young children and having sexually explicit images of them with a dog on a cellphone.
Connie Ramirez, 43, entered guilty pleas to a bill of information filed in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court to three counts of rape and a single count of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material.
The plea agreement and sentence was worked out by Assistant Prosecutor Natasha Frenchko and defense attorney Ronald Knickerbocker. Because it is an agreed-upon sentence, it can not be appealed.
The state Bureau of Criminal Investigation found the sexually explicit images while investigating a man police said was her boyfriend, William Brock, 65, of Niles, who neighbors said liked to dress up as Santa Claus. He was arrested July 19 and was arraigned earlier this week in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court on 35 counts relating to child sexual abuse. He entered pleas of not guilty.
Ramirez was arrested Aug. 21. The bill of information does not identify the children and does not state how old they were when the abuse took place, only that the abuse began in November 2011.
A representative of the children wrote a statement that Frenchko read, saying that the two children will carry this with them as they grow up.
“The emotional and mental strain will follow these girls for the rest of their lives,” the statement said.
Frenchko said Ramirez had been a preschool teacher.
Ramirez apologized through tears.
“I just want to say I’m sorry,” she said. “I realize that I was wrong. I’m just so sorry.”