WILMINGTON — A Gallia County man was sentenced Thursday in southwestern Ohio to an indefinite prison term of at least 25 years and possibly up to life imprisonment for the rape of, and unlawful sexual conduct with, a minor.
Larry Casey, 48, of Gallipolis, was a former police chief of Newtonsville (35 miles east of Cincinnati) and former police officer of Harveysburg (30 miles southeast of Dayton). Casey never served as a police officer in Gallipolis or Gallia County.
Clinton County Common Pleas Judge John W. “Tim” Rudduck sentenced Casey to the indefinite sentence after a Clinton County jury found Casey guilty of rape, two counts sexual battery, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and failing to provide notice of change of address as a sex offender.
Because four of the charges refer to two crimes, Casey was sentenced for rape, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and failure to notify.
Casey also pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property in another case as part of a plea deal, and he had previously pleaded guilty to sexual battery of another minor in 2010, for which he served three years community control.
Rudduck ruled that Casey is a sexually violent predator, which increased the rape charge’s minimum sentence from 10 years to 25 years. In that ruling, Rudduck said Casey “has now preyed upon two (victims), using them, controlling them and harming them for his own sexual gratification purposes … (and) is likely to commit a sexually violent offense.”
Rudduck also sentenced Casey to a concurrent seven-year sentence for unlawful sexual conduct and a concurrent nine-month sentence failure to provide notice of his change of address.
Casey pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property in a separate case in exchange for a concurrent sentence. Rudduck accepted that plea and ordered a nine-month, consecutive sentence for that charge.
After 25 years, Casey will be eligible for parole, which can only be granted by the Ohio Parole Board. That board may choose to never give Casey parole. If so, Casey could serve life in prison.
If the board gives Casey parole, he will be placed on post-release control for five years, per Rudduck’s sentence.
Casey must continue registering as a Tier-3 sex offender, which requires reporting address changes for life.
In 25 years, Casey will be 73; he received 210 days credit for time spent in the Clinton County Jail.
Leading up to the sentencing, special prosecutor Eric Michener, from the Ohio Attorney General’s office, asked the court to consider several factors making Casey’s crimes more heinous.
Chief among them was Casey’s status as a peace officer.
“The defendant’s occupation obliged him to prevent the offense,” Michener said. “As a police officer, his duty was to stop this type of behavior, to prevent those offenses and bring those who commit them to justice; instead, he was actually the one committing these heinous crimes.”
Clinton County Public Defender Rob Baker said Casey denied being chief of police of Newtonsville at the time of the crimes, as Michener claimed.
The court indictment said Casey raped the victim “on or about September 1, 2009 to September 30, 2011.”
Media reports detailing Casey’s first trial quote then-Mayor Jason Ritter saying Casey was chief of police from May 2009 to January 2010. So, Casey may have been chief of police of Newtonsville at the time.
Michener also said the child victim suffered trauma that was exacerbated by her age, pointed out that Casey was in a position of trust to the victim and said Casey committed some of the crimes while on community control for his previous sexual battery conviction.
Baker disputed Michener’s claim about community control, saying the range of dates included in the indictment may have been wide enough to include time Casey was on community control but also included time when Casey wasn’t.
The indictments charged Casey with crimes from November 2011 to June 2014, June 2013 to June 2014 and September 2009 to September 2011.
Casey was on community control from November 2010 to December 2013. Two of the crimes Casey was found guilty of fall within that date range but also include dates outside that range.
Michener said because of the aggravating factors, Casey deserved consecutive sentences for rape, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and failure to provide notice of change of address.
Baker said 25 years was “akin to a life sentence” for the 48-year-old Casey. He asked for leniency and mercy for Casey and his family.
“This family’s already been torn apart,” Baker said. “(Casey’s wife) is still in pain. … This is going to be something that affects her and her family.”
Baker said the 25-year minimum sentence was stiff enough that a consecutive sentence wasn’t necessary.
Speaking for himself, Casey only said, “I would just ask that the court show mercy, not just for me but for my wife and kids who are still out there.”
Casey told Civitas Media that he is innocent and he plans to appeal. An appeal was filed later Thursday afternoon.
“Hopefully, the judicial system will work,” he said.
Reach Nathan Kraatz at 937-382-2574, ext. 2510 or on Twitter @NathanKraatz.