YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – A Youngstown man will spend the rest of his life in prison for raping a child.
Kenneth Thomas was sentenced Thursday on child rape charges. Prosecutors say he repeatedly raped a young boy over the course of five years.
Thomas spoke at his sentencing and still wants to fight his conviction.
“I’m here in front of you today asking for mercy and leniency for a crime I have not committed,” Thomas said.
Police say the sexual assaults began when the boy was 9 years old and lasted five and a half years. Thomas was convicted Jan. 11 on 19 counts of child rape.
A statement from the victim was read at the sentencing hearing by Assistant Mahoning County Prosecutor Jennifer McLaughlin. The boy wrote, “I feel like Ken should get life because he destroyed a big part of mine.”
Thomas has been in jail already for over 600 days. In court, he made claims of injustice, saying jurors had fallen asleep and even wished that the trial had been moved, but Judge Lou D’Apolito wasn’t buying it.
“You are basically saying if we boil it down, the final analysis is that this young boy who got on the stand and exposed himself to cross-examination by your layer was lying,” D’Apolito said.
Judge D’Apolito felt consecutive life sentences were necessary since the harm to the boy was so great.
In an exchange between Thomas and the judge, the final sentencing was complete.
Judge D’Apolito: “You sentenced that boy to a life of nightmares.”
Thomas: “His mother did.”
Judge D’Apolito: “You did. You were found guilty of it and you will spend the rest of your life thinking about it. We are in recess.”
Thomas has expressed a desire to appeal the conviction.