By Jordan Cohen
The Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office said in a legal filing Monday that Richard Keenan, a former Hubbard mayor, admitted on several occasions raping and molesting a child over a three-year period – beginning when she was 4.
Keenan, who served as Hubbard mayor in 2010 and 2011, was indicted last month on eight counts of rape and 12 counts of attempted rape and gross sexual imposition. A rape conviction carries a sentence of life in prison.
According to the filing by Assistant Prosecutor Gabriel Wildman, Keenan, 65, made the admissions to his wife, a pastor, a social worker and his brother and sister-in-law.
Wildman’s filing states that when Keenan’s wife, Diana, heard about the assaults from the child, “upon confronting [her husband] about the allegations, [Keenan] responded, ‘I did it.’”
The filing states Keenan also admitted sexual abuse during “group discussions” while he was in the ValleyCare Trumbull Memorial Hospital psychiatric ward.
The filing goes into extensive detail about each of the purported admissions.
It states that after Keenan voluntarily admitted himself into a Warren psychiatric facility after his release from Trumbull, he told a social worker “he was feeling suicidal because he had been molesting the child victim for approximately the past two years.” It states that during those discussions, Keenan blamed the victim for initiating the acts and called her a “willing participant.”
It also states that Keenan had “in-depth” conversations with the pastor about the sexual contact.
Wildman has filed a motion asking Judge Peter Kontos to decide if those admissions – particularly by Keenan’s wife, pastor and medical personnel – meet the standards that permit their submission to a jury, or if the statements are privileged, meaning they could not be used in the trial.
Messages left for J. Gerald Ingram, Keenan’s defense attorney, were not returned. A hearing on Wildman’s evidence motion has been set for Jan. 20.
According to Rule 601 of the Ohio Rules of Evidence, a spouse is considered “competent to be a witness” against the other spouse “if the testifying spouse elects to testify.”
As for the pastor’s possible testimony, the Ohio Revised Code states that a member of the clergy cannot be compelled to testify if “the confession or confidential communication was made directly to the cleric.”
Keenan remains free on $75,000 bond. His trial is scheduled to begin April 24, 2017.