Ex-West Milton police officer sentenced on rape conviction involving girl younger than 13

Credit: Miami County Jail

Credit: Miami County Jail

A former West Milton police officer convicted by a jury last month on three felony counts of rape of a child younger than 13 was ordered Tuesday to serve consecutive sentences of 10 years to life in prison on each charge.

Kevin Wright, 34, of West Milton was sentenced in Miami County Common Pleas Court by Judge Stacy Wall, who presided over his five-day trial. The jury deliberated around eight hours over two days.

“He does maintain his innocence,” defense attorney Jay Lopez, who represented Wright during trial, said before the sentence was read in court. Wright will appeal, he said. New defense lawyer Stephen Palmer of Columbus asked Wall to set an appeal bond for Wright. She declined.

County Prosecutor Tony Kendell asked Wall to look at the testimony during trial. The jury heard from both Wright and the girl he was accused of raping over three years. She now is 13.

“He was found guilty by a jury of his peers,” Kendell said.

A statement by the girl was read by a victim advocate. The girl wrote she was scared during the abuse and feared no one would believe her because Wright was a police officer. “Who would believe?” she said.

The indictments alleged Wright engaged in sexual conduct between Aug. 1, 2017, and June 1, 2018; Aug. 1, 2018, and June 1, 2019; and Dec. 8, 2019. The girl was between 10 and 12 at that time.

Wall said in remarks leading to the sentence that the testimony of the victim about the initial sexual contact and the growing conduct matched the testimony of a child sexual abuse expert who testified on the grooming of victims by a perpetrator. She also noted testimony about touch DNA on the girl’s clothing and her fear that no one would believe her if she came forward.

A remark to a friend, who told a parent, led to the investigation by sheriff’s detectives.

“I understand you maintain you are innocent, but there is no remorse,” Wall told Wright.

She ordered him to serve the three sentences consecutively, instead of concurrently, saying the consecutive terms were justified by the “great” harm caused and the extent of the sexual abuse over three years.

Wright was classified as a Tier III sex offender. The designation would require him to register his address with the sheriff’s office in the county where he resides for the rest of the life after prison release.

Kendell said he believed that consecutive sentences were appropriate. He credited the work by the sheriff’s detective section, including Sgt. Todd Cooper, the county victim witness staff and county Children’s Services.

“The message is: We don’t care what you do for a living, what your title is, if you break the law, we are going to come for you,” Kendell said.

A motion for a new trial filed last week by Lopez was denied by Wall late Monday.

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