Judge sentences Youngstown man for rape of a 4-year-old

YOUNGSTOWN — A man convicted of sexually assaulting a relative when she was 4 years old received his prison sentence Friday.

Mahoning County Common Pleas Court Judge Maureen Sweeney sentenced Todd Perkins, 58, of Youngstown, to 20 years to life in prison. Perkins was convicted Feb. 8 on one count of rape and one count of gross sexual imposition.

Sweeney imposed a term of 15 years to life for the rape count and five years to life for the gross sexual imposition count and ordered that they run consecutively.

Before sentencing, the girl and her mother addressed the court.

“His actions affected me and the way I acted,” the girl said. “The news unsettled me for the ongoing years and still upsets me to this day. The weight of past events made me dread coming to public places, for fear of seeing him or coming to the courthouse and getting questioned about that night.”

Her mother said she felt like she let her daughter down.

“She was 4 years old when she confided in me. As a parent, it is my job to protect her to provide care and safety,” she said. “I sought assistance from those who knew what to do to restore our lives, but this began a chain of events and worries that have continued for the past seven years. I know that what happens today won’t give us the last seven years back but it’s a closure to this chapter and we will continue to grow from this experience.”

Following those statements, prosecuting attorney Kevin Day explained that both the rape conviction and the gross sexual imposition counts mean the jury found Perkins guilty of committing sexual acts with the girl.

“Those are separate and identifiable harms, they constitute separate acts, and in the (Akron Children’s Hospital Child Advocacy Center) interview, the victim detailed that these happened almost every day,” he said. “Consecutive sentences would be appropriate because the harm in this case is so great that concurrent sentences would be disproportionate to that harm.”

Day said Perkins committed “unspeakable crimes.”

“He took an innocent 4-year-old girl and did the worst things imaginable,” he said.

Defense attorney John Juhasz argued on behalf of his client that consecutive sentences were unnecessary given Perkins’ age, criminal record and likely risk to the community.

“You know the State of Ohio requires the court to impose a sentence that would protect the public and punish the offender but when doing so not unnecessarily use government resources,” he said. “And so because there’s a life sentence, consecutive sentences aren’t necessary, because certainly a sentence of 15 years would make him an old man before he had a shot at eligibility (for parole).”

Should Perkins ever be released, he will have to register as a Tier 3 sex offender, meaning he must check in with law enforcement every 90 days for life, and law enforcement in any community where he may relocate will be notified of his presence.

Mahoning County Prosecutor Gina DeGenova approved of the sentence.

“I am extremely pleased by the consecutive sentences Judge Sweeney issued here today,” she said. “This defendant committed the most unspeakable acts against a child, and I only hope that the justice handed down here today gives her a sense of comfort as she grows up and begins to heal.”

Perkins did not address the court before his sentencing, and Juhasz told Sweeney that is because Perkins intends to appeal the conviction and sentence.

Jennifer Bonish, chief of the Prosecutor Office’s Special Victims Unit, said she believes he is unlikely to succeed, given the history of his case and pending charges against him. Perkins still faces rape and gross sexual imposition charges for allegations brought by another young female relative.

Perkins pleaded guilty to two child rapes in May of 2021 and was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison, but successfully appealed. Perkins’ attorneys argued that Sweeney should have agreed to separate the cases involving the two children because a jury hearing testimony about both alleged victims “would infer (Perkins’) guilt from one case to the other,” according to the ruling.

On appeal, Perkins said he only pleaded guilty because Sweeney refused to separate the cases, and maintained that he did not commit any of the offenses. The 7th District Court of Appeals ruled in August 2022 in Perkins’ favor.

Have an interesting story? Contact Dan Pompili at dpompili@vindy.com


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