A Clark County man made a tearful plea of innocence before his sentencing Friday despite pleading guilty earlier this month to charges that he sexually abused a child.
James Gibson was sobbing as he told Judge Douglas Rastatter he only pleaded guilty to two counts of gross sexual imposition as part of a deal with the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office to avoid a possible life sentence on a rape charge.
For a two-year period, Gibson sexually abused a girl whom he knows, investigators said. The girl was 7 years old when the assault started. The abuse was discovered after the child was examined at Dayton Children’s Hospital for an unrelated issue.
With his daughter, mother and sister in the audience to support him, Gibson said the case has ruined his family.
“I love them more than anything in the world. I would never hurt nobody,” he said. “I feel … humiliated.”
Knowing Gibson’s guilty plea was done to avoid life in prison, the victim’s mother asked the judge to consider “the life sentence he’s given (the victim).” She said the girl has struggled in school and contemplated suicide because of what happened.
Gibson’s attorney, Joseph Coates, asked the judge to consider probation since this was his client’s first criminal offense. However, Brian Driscoll, assistant Clark County prosecutor, argued Gibson deserved the maximum— 10 years through consecutive sentences— due to the seriousness of the crime.
“First time, we’re not talking jaywalking here. Obviously his first time was a major crime, a major impact on this victim,” Driscoll said.
Rastatter ordered the maximum sentence of 10 years, and will require Gibson to register as a Tier II sex offender once he gets out of prison.
Jessica Gibson, the defendant’s 21-year-old daughter, cried as her father was led away. She said she believes the victim was abused, but that authorities are sending the wrong man to prison.
“He was always a good dad,” she said. “I believe him and I love him, and I wish things had turned out differently for him because he’s going to miss out on 10 years and that makes me sad.”