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Belmont County

Belmont County

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Convicted child rapist Hart gets 25 years

Updated: Tuesday, May 13 2014, 11:38 PM EDT
BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio – It was a case that spanned more than 2 years, saw an unusual twist, and came to an end Tuesday at the Belmont County Courthouse.
Richard Hart, a county man accused of raping a minor, showed up in court for the first time to learn his fate.
Hart was making his initial appearance in court because he jumped off a bridge trying to commit suicide when DNA was confirmed a match back in march 2012, leading investigators his way.
Juge Frank Fregiato accepted Hart’s Alford plea agreement in disgust and sentencing him to 25 years in prison.
“This court believes pursuant to the statues that the harm is so great that a single term does not reflect adequately the seriousness of the conduct,” Fregiato said.
The judge read a statement of the pain the victim lived since she was 11 years old.
Hart received the maximum sentence. On top of that, after he is released, Hart will be on post-release control supervision for 5 years.
Hart is also now considered a Tier 3 sex offender/child victim offender, meaning he will have to register every 90 days for the rest of his life with the county Sheriff.
What's more, Hart must pay $50,000 in fines.
“The fact that this was such a high amount of fines, the court went forward and entered it as a judgment for the state as a judgment against the defendant,” Assistant Prosecutor Helen Yonak said.
Yonak said this may turn out to be a life sentence, given his medical condition.
Yonak said a case like this is very unusual, and if Hart didn't plea, he would have faced more charges if convicted.

Convicted child rapist Hart gets 25 years

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