- Associated Press - Thursday, April 14, 2016

LIMA, Ohio (AP) - A fired police officer was sentenced to 14 years in prison Thursday for raping a 16-year-old girl while he was off duty, hours after he had taken a class that warned it was illegal to have sex with someone underage.

Prosecutors had asked for a 22-year sentence for former Lima police officer Justin Bentz.

Bentz, who was found guilty of rape, kidnapping and sexual battery, had testified the girl lured him into having sex with her. But the teen, now 17, told the judge that she repeatedly told the officer no and that she was afraid of him.

He also said he was unaware of her age and assumed she was 21.

“This girl looked like she was 12 years old, and to somehow indicate one was mistaken about her age is on the preposterous side,” said Allen County Judge David Cheney, who had found Bentz guilty in February.

Police officers are not permitted to have sex with a person under 18 even if they are considered old enough to consent under Ohio law.

Bentz, 28, now must register as a sex offender the rest of his life after his release, The Lima News reported.

Prosecutors said the rape happened at his home last June. The girl was there because her sister was the girlfriend of Bentz’s roommate. She said Bentz began taking off her clothes and that she told him several times to stop.

On the day of the encounter with the teen, Bentz had finished an online continuing education class that included an overview of sexual assault crimes involving minors, prosecutors said.


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