Champion man, 80, sentenced to life in prison for rapes

Staff report


Verl D. Gibson, 80, of Downs Road, Champion, will spend 25 years to life in prison for raping a girl at least seven times since 2011.

Gibson, whose crimes were committed in Champion and Niles, was sentenced in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court. He pleaded no contest Monday, and Judge W. Wyatt McKay found him guilty.

The 15-year-old victim reported the crimes in March 2017, but they had begun with touches when the girl was 4 and progressed, said Diane Barber, assistant county prosecutor.

“I suffered for more than half my life,” the victim said during her victim-impact statement to Judge McKay.

“I would rather die than let this horrific man get away with what he did to me,” she said. “I wasn’t only sexually abused. I was mentally abused for years.”

She added, “You killed a naive girl who was small and didn’t realize the power in my words. Jail and death are a fate too good for you. All I can do is hope you get what you deserve.”

The victim’s mother said Gibson “thought he was choosing a weak person in choosing my daughter, [but] he never fully realized her strength and determination to end a lifetime of abuse of others.”

Gibson did not say anything to the court before Judge McKay sentenced him.

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