Trial begins for man accused of rape

YOUNGSTOWN — Jury selection is underway in the trial of a Youngstown man accused of raping a child over the course of five years.

Kenneth Thomas, 38, of Hubbard Road, faces 19 counts of rape, 16 of which carry the possibility of a life sentence.

Judge Lou A. D’Apolito is presiding.

Prosecutors said Thomas’ victim was a young male relative.

The first 16 counts, with the potential for life sentences, occurred from the time the alleged victim was nine until he turned 13, according to the indictment. The remaining counts occurred between the child’s 13th birthday and February of 2016, when the child was 14 years old.

A Mahoning County grand jury indicted Thomas in April of 2016.

The three counts that do not carry the possibility of a life sentence, are punishable by three to 11 years in prison.

Thomas turned down a plea agreement offered by prosecutors prior to the start of his trial this morning.

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