The Troy adoptive father accused of raping his sons and prostituting one of them pleaded guilty Thursday to six felony rape charges that will put him in prison for at least 60 years.
Kenneth Brandt, 40, made the unscheduled plea in Miami County Common Pleas Court as part of a “plea and substantial assistance agreement reached with prosecutors.”
He originally faced 31 felony rape counts in Miami County and still faces seven rape or complicity to commit rape counts in Montgomery County. Of the Miami County charges, 25 were dismissed in the deal along with a specification that one of the three victims was under age 10.
The agreement calls for Brandt to cooperate and testify in the trial of Jason Zwick, accused of raping one of the sons under age 13. The trial is scheduled next week.
Zwick, 30, of Beavercreek, faces three felony rape charges. Investigators said he met Brandt via an ad Brandt posted on Craigslist about availability of such activity.
The agreement states Brandt will meet with investigators from the local to federal level to discuss “violations of local, state or federal criminal laws” concerning himself, co-conspirators and others. If he fails to comply with the agreement’s condition, it can be withdrawn, Gary Nasal, Miami County prosecutor, said.
The agreement also includes a joint sentencing recommendation of 10 years to life on each count with sentences to run consecutively.
Judge Robert Lindeman told Brandt he intends to follow that recommendation and that there would be no chance for early release. Lindeman said a sentencing date would be set later and Brandt will remain in the county jail until sentencing.
Brandt answered questions posed by Lindeman, but made no further comment.
Both prosecutors and defense lawyer Nick Gounaris of Dayton said the decision to make the plea deal and Brandt’s acceptance were driven heavily by consideration for the boys, and the need for them to testify in court.
“This has been a long process for Mr. Brandt. There are a lot of considerations here including the testimony of the minor children. As their father, this was his (Brandt’s) way of having the opportunity for them not to have to testify. That’s one of the major considerations that he had,” Gounaris said.
Brandt’s plea affects only testimony that would have been made during his trial.
“Certainly first and foremost in our considerations in this case is the safety, health and well being of those children,” Nasal said. “The resolution of this case takes away one of the potentials for those children to have to testify. However in order to achieve justice and resolve these matters in the way they should be resolved, they stand prepared to testify and go forward, if necessary.”
The alleged victim of Zwick is scheduled to testify at his trial. A hearing on that testimony is scheduled Friday in Miami County before Judge Christopher Gee. Prosecutors have asked the judge to clear the courtroom of non-essential personnel during the boy’s testimony or allow him to testify via closed circuit television. The request is based on feared psychological harm to the child from having to testify in an open courtroom, according to court documents.
Brandt, Zwick and Patrick Rieder, 32, of Dayton were indicted in the spring as part of an investigation by the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Rieder was indicted on charges of sexual activity with the one boy in Montgomery County.