Closing arguments in Youngstown man's rape trial


YOUNGSTOWN

Attorneys delivered closing arguments in the trial of a Youngstown man accused of raping a young family member over the course of five years, and a jury will decide his fate.

Kenneth Thomas, 39, of Hubbard Road, faces 19 counts of rape that allegedly occurred from the time his victim was 9 until he was 13.

Sixteen counts carry the potential for life sentences.

Defense Atty. Anthony Meranto claimed the agencies that investigate child rape claims work from an assumption of guilt and what happened to his client could have happened to anyone.

“These types of cases just offend me,” Meranto said.

“This wouldn’t happen to anyone of us because we’re not at home raping [a family member],” Assistant County Prosecutor Jennifer McLaughlin responded.

She also countered Meranto’s claim that the victim’s mother created the story to remove Thomas from her home by stating that Thomas had moved out a month before the victim reported the alleged rapes.

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