- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 3, 2015

MARYSVILLE, Ohio (AP) - An Ohio National Guardsman convicted of sexually abusing his three adopted daughters was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The Marysville man, 42, had been charged with 35 crimes, including rape, sexual battery, gross sexual imposition, intimidation and tampering with evidence. The charges were brought several years after he’d told a military publication that he wanted to adopt a girl from Africa to protect her from rape.

The guardsman was convicted last month of 15 counts, including rape and sexual battery, and acquitted on eight other counts - including charges of sexually abusing his stepdaughter - with the remaining charges dropped before the case went to the jury.

The Associated Press isn’t naming the man to protect the children’s identities.

Judge David Faulkner, a retired Hardin County judge appointed to hear the case, handed down three life sentences to be served back-to-back, along with other multiyear sentences also to be served consecutively. Faulkner said the man must also register as a sex offender for life.

The guardsman, who testified in his own defense, was accused of abusing girls who were under age 13 at the time, with one as young as 5.

During brief remarks Wednesday, the man, a 20-year military veteran, said he learned from his parents’ abusive marriage to hate and stand against offenses against women and children.

“From my youth, all that I have ever known, learned or been taught is to support, defend, protect and provide for my family,” he said.

His stepson and family friends spoke on his behalf, asking for leniency.

The guardsman’s attorney, George Leach, unsuccessfully asked the judge to throw out the convictions, saying the jury took an uneven approach to the evidence, convicting and acquitting on various charges using the same facts. The verdict would be appealed, he said.

When asked by his attorney at trial last month if he had abused an adopted daughter, the guardsman replied, “Absolutely not.”

Prosecutors alleged he touched the girls in inappropriate, sexual ways and forced two of them to perform sex acts on him. They alleged the man and his wife abruptly sent another girl who had been living with them out of state in July 2012 after she learned of the abuse and reported it to relatives. Prosecutors alleged the parents then threatened the remaining children in the family with a similar fate to keep them from talking about what they knew.

The guardsman and the wife denied this allegation, saying they had been planning for several days to return the girl to her adoptive parents in Idaho because she was disruptive and intimidated the other children. The guardsman was convicted of one count of intimidation related to that charge.

In his remarks Wednesday, the man appeared to blame this girl, saying she manipulated the other children to conceal her own sexual activity in the home.

The guardsman and his wife have acknowledged allegations that the woman’s son sexually assaulted children in the house, while the guardsman said his nephew was also suspected of sexually assaulting his stepdaughter years ago.

The man’s wife testified that she never saw signs of abuse in the home, and the couple said one of the girls once threatened to make an allegation of sex abuse if her phone was taken away.

The wife has pleaded not guilty to charges of intimidation and evidence tampering, and her attorney has declined to comment. She is scheduled for trial June 15. The AP is also withholding her name to protect the children’s identities.

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