MANSFIELD — Richland County Assistant Prosecutor Bambi Couch Page was not swayed Wednesday by a teenage girl’s defense of a man who had a sexual relationship with her.
“This is a classic circumstance of a girl being manipulated by a fully-grown adult,” Couch Page said during the sentencing of Keith Ward, a former member of the 1486th Transportation Co.
Ward, 41, of 882 N. Stewart Road, was sentenced to four years in prison for child endangering and importuning. Common Pleas Judge James DeWeese also gave Ward three years probation on a second count of child endangering.
Ward, who pleaded guilty last month, could have received up to 17 years in prison. His sexual relationship with the girl started when she was 14 and continued for two years.
The teen tearfully supported Ward in her statement.
“I believe that Keith Ward should be placed on probation,” she said. “He made a mistake and is not a sexual predator.”
Ward was deployed to Afghanistan with the Ohio Army National Guard when the allegations surfaced, and he was sent home. He later retired from the military.
DeWeese said Ward asked the girl to send a naked photo of herself to him when he was deployed. The judge said Ward touched the girl’s breasts when she was 14 and also exposed himself to her.
DeWeese said Ward did not have sex with the girl.
Wearing a navy blue suit and khaki pants, Ward carried a Bible as he went to the podium to address DeWeese. He asked the judge if he could read Psalm 51, a penitential psalm starting with the words, “Have mercy on me, O God.” – I bet the 10 commandments judge loved this! – No wonder he only got 4 years, which by the way in layman’s terms means he will serve 6 months and be returned to the community’s VOA system where he will tell them what they want to hear, and released to the public on probation, and we all know how that system works! – meaning he can do it again until caught again. The only thing he’s sorry about?, is getting caught! – (GOOD THING THIS WAS NOT MY DAUGHTER)
Ward, who is married and has four children, broke down as he read from the Bible. He asked his wife to forgive him.
“I’m truly sorry for the terrible sins I have committed,” Ward said.
Defense attorney Robert Whitney said his client had no prior record. Ward graduated from Madison Comprehensive High School in 1990 and served eight years with the U.S. Army and 14 with the Army National Guard, where he attained the rank of 1st sergeant.
Ward was deployed to Iraq in 2004 and Afghanistan in 2011.
“His military circumstances make this even worse,” Couch Page said. AGREED!, you can blame the desperation on “don’t ask, don’t tell”. What makes this worse is Bambi condones bad behavior – remember she is the one who watched the FIRED APA SUPERVISOR drink 4 beers in an hour as he supposedly didn’t mention that he was about to bust his ex-wife with a sex offender later that day. Something is not adding up here, like your suggesting 10 years to make yourself look good – great dog and pony show!
“He could not control himself when it comes to sex.”
Couch Page recommended a 10-year prison sentence.
DeWeese accused Ward of trying to manipulate the victim. He also declared Ward a Tier II sex offender, meaning he will have to register with the county sheriff every six months for 25 years.
“God is willing to forgive those who are truly repentant,” DeWeese said. “The consequences are not going away.” You can thank the Mansfielders Perspective for that, people in Mansfield will soon forget like they always do. This sentence will make everyone feel good, but unless this man truly repents, we are in DANGER when he gets out – BEWARE!, we have many of these people among us who can and will snap once he’s free to be harassed on parole.
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We the people will keep a close eye on the situation unlike this glory hole News Agency that prints ONLY what you want to hear!