Youngstown man gets 6 years on sexual-battery charges
By Justin wier
A 63-year-old man accused of sexually abusing two young girls will spend the next six years behind bars.
On the eve of his trial in December, Lynn Perry of East Wood Street entered an Alford plea, in which he did not admit to the criminal act and asserted his innocence, to two counts of sexual battery, which resulted from accusations that he digitally raped 6- and 7-year-old girls.
Judge John M. Durkin of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court sentenced Perry to three years on each count, to be served consecutively.
Perry had concerns that, given the nature of the charges, emotion, sympathy and potential prejudice, a trial could lead to a guilty verdict, according to a sentencing memorandum filed by his attorney.
A county grand jury indicted Perry on two counts each of rape and gross sexual imposition. If convicted of either rape, the law would have required Judge Durkin to impose a life sentence.
At sentencing, Judge Durkin told Perry that given his age, any sentence he imposed could be considered a life sentence.
Atty. Thomas Zena, who represented Perry, said his client surprised him by entering the plea and that he did it in part to spare the victims the potential trauma of testifying.
While prosecutors asked for a 10-year sentence, Perry, his attorney and the Rev. Raymond Mason, pastor of Alpha & Omega First Baptist Church, described him as a religious man with no criminal record and asked Judge Durkin to impose the minimum sentence. Perry faced two to eight years on each count.
“If I could change places with him, I would,” the Rev. Mr. Mason said. “That’s how much I respect this man.”
Perry became emotional as his pastor spoke about him and broke down again as he told the judge he loved the girls who accused him of abusing them.
“There’s nothing else for me to say except I’ve been incarcerated for something I didn’t do,” Perry told the court.
Assistant County Prosecutor Jennifer McLaughlin, however, said Perry betrayed the girls’ trust to fulfill his perverted desires.
“He took advantage of these girls at a tender age – an age when they were unable to appreciate the inappropriateness of his actions,” she said.
Judge Durkin appeared to struggle as he attempted to settle on an appropriate sentence.
“What is the proper, what is the just sentence?” Judge Durkin asked. “I honestly don’t know. ... This is a case of two young girls who maintained that this occurred, and we weren’t there.”
Perry received jail-time credit for about 1,000 days served since his indictment.