A 22-year-old man was sentenced to 2 years in state prison Friday for kissing, licking and having sex with a 5-year-old girl last year.
Robert H. Griffith, formerly of Sharon and Warren, Ohio, will spend a little more than half of that sentence in a state cell. He earned credit for the last 11 months – 331 days – he’s spent locked up in the Mercer County Jail.
Griffith pleaded guilty to a felony count of corruption of minors and a misdemeanor charge of indecent assault. He must register as a sex offender.
He was charged by Hermitage police after the girl was taken to Akron Children’s Hospital in Boardman, Ohio on the day she was abused. Griffith told Mercer County Common Pleas Judge Robert G. Yeatts Friday that the girl was his friend’s daughter.
Griffith said he was “completely joyful” for his newfound sobriety, and that he’s taking the medications he needs. “I now ask for a second chance,” he told the judge.
The defendant did not specifically address the sexual accusations of his crime. But when the judge asked if he had “come to grips with your own sexuality,” Griffith said yes.
Yeatts did acknowledge receiving a letter from Griffith, as well as from his sister. Griffith told him he had been picked on and teased in school, and that he had been the victim of sexual abuse by a family friend.
Griffith had been arrested as both a juvenile and adult, and had become abusive of alcohol and drugs.
“Your conduct is extremely serious, extremely dangerous,” Yeatts said.
“I understand you didn’t have a perfect life. A lot of people don’t have a perfect life and they don’t go out and molest children.”
According to the judge, Griffith kissed the 5-year-old girl on the mouth, touched and licked her chest and licked other areas of her body. He forced both anal and vaginal sex on her, and threated to punch the girl and kill her if she told anyone what happened.
And while victims are allowed to address the court during sentencing proceedings, no one testified on the girl’s behalf Friday.
The judge said as a result of Griffith’s actions, the girl now experiences night terrors and is afraid to be around men.
Yeatts sentenced Griffith to a minimum of one year in prison for each of the two charges he faced. Those sentences will be served back-to-back.
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