The Benjamin Logan High School student who sexually assaulted little girls on a school bus is facing a two-pronged punishment after he was sentenced on Tuesday afternoon.
The teen, who is not being identified by the News-Sun because he’s under 18, will stay in the Logan County Juvenile Detention Center until he is accepted into an approximately six-month-long lockdown rehabilitation program.
After completion of the program, the teen will remain under probation by the Logan County Juvenile Court until he is 18 although he will be under the same court’s jurisdiction until he turns 21.
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That means should the teen re-offend before age 21, he will have to serve time either in the Department of Youth Services or in an adult prison setting — that option could result in up to 10 years, which was part of the sentence handed down Tuesday. Where the teen would be behind bars and for how long depends on the type of offense committed.
A sexual offender classification was tabled until another date, as well as a hearing to talk about possible restitution for the victims and their families.
The teen pleaded guilty last year to one count of rape and three counts of gross sexual imposition.
The charges stem from incidents when the teen was serving as an unofficial ‘bus helper’ aboard a school bus.
The victims listed in the case’s original indictment range in age from six to 17.
Law enforcement was first alerted when one of the six-year-old victims was assaulted and told her parents the next day.
During the teen’s sentencing, the room was packed with family members of the little girls — many of whom spoke prior to the boy’s sentence being handed down.
“My daughter was a happy, loving, caring little girl that has to deal with trust issues and nightmares,” one mother said.
Many of the family members talked about how some of the girls are now scared of riding a school bus and people who share the same name as the teen — side effects they fear will haunt them for many years to come.
At least one family has removed their daughter from the Ben Logan school district.
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“While he was at home free for the last 456 days after his first confession, my granddaughter and family have had to change everything about the way we live,” a victim’s grandmother said.
A husband and wife also spoke about how the ordeal has affected them. Although their daughter is not listed in the original indictment, they did assist the Logan County Prosecutor’s Office in the investigation.
“She’ll get through this, and she’s going to be a very strong person,” the father said.
The teen did apologize in court to the victims’ families, the school district, the court and his own family — followed by a promise.
“Many people — in and out of this court — many people think I’ll re-offend,” he said. “But I just want to say I’ll prove them wrong.”
As part of his sentence, the teen is not allowed to have any contact with the victims in the case.
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