Ex- Hubbard mayor Keenan pleads guilty to raping, molesting 4-year-old
By Ed Runyan
Former Hubbard mayor Richard Keenan, 66, pleaded guilty to eight rape charges and 12 lesser charges Friday for raping and molesting a child over a three-year period starting when she was 4.
His agreed-upon sentence calls for him to go to prison for life with parole eligibility after 10 years. He will be sentenced in several weeks, after the county adult probation department conducts a background investigation.
Keenan did not have to speak at the hearing other than to respond yes or no. While standing with his attorney in front of Judge Peter Kontos of common pleas court, Keenan appeared to be shaking.
He walked out of the courtroom with two unidentified females and a pastor to report to the probation department. He will remain free on $75,000 bond until his sentencing hearing in several weeks.
“Our position is it’s a life sentence. It gives the victim some closure, and it obviously keeps this young child from having to testify,” Gabe Wildman, assistant prosecutor, said of the plea agreement.
Prosecutors said Keenan, of Moore Street in Hubbard, who served as Hubbard mayor in 2010 and 2011, admitted to committing the crimes to his wife, a pastor, a social worker and his brother and sister-in-law.
Prosecutors said Keenan assaulted the child from the fall of 2013 through last June, when the allegations surfaced.
A filing in the case 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.
It states that after Keenan voluntarily admitted himself into a Warren psychiatric facility after his release from Trumbull Memorial, he told a social worker “he was feeling suicidal because he had been molesting the child victim for approximately the past two years.”
Wildman filed a motion in September seeking a ruling on whether Keenan’s admissions could be used at trial, but no hearing was held.
After Friday’s hearing, Wildman credited the pastor and social worker, who “did the jobs that they are supposed to, which is to mandatorily report” what Keenan had told them about the crimes.
“It’s important that these folks did what they were supposed to do, and obviously that helped the case,” Wildman said.
When asked whether Keenan might someday be released from prison, Wildman said the Trumbull County Prosecutor’s office “has a history of opposing parole, and in these type of cases, we typically do that, so I don’t think this case will be any different.”
Keenan was indicted in August on eight counts of rape, four counts of attempted rape and eight counts of gross sexual imposition. The rape charges each carry a possible life prison sentence.
Keenan was appointed mayor in late December 2009 to complete the last two years of the term of Arthur Magee, who resigned for health reasons.
Keenan also served on Hubbard City Council in the early 1990s and again in the late 1990s and at one time served as a local soccer referee. He also worked for CSX Railroad in New Castle, Pa., and P&LE Railroad in Struthers and was a probation officer in Girard Municipal court in the mid-1990s, according to Vindicator files.
Keenan’s trial had been set for April 24.