Clark County man pleads guilty to rape of woman with disabilities

A Clark County man who admitted to investigators that he sexually assaulted a 50-year-old woman with Down syndrome he knows has pleaded guilty.

Joseph M. Schmitt, 58, of 4105 Ashton Lane, was indicted on charges of rape and gross sexual imposition in March.

>>MORE DETAILS: Springfield man turns himself in on rape charges

Family of the victim told our reporters at the time of his arrest in early March they uncovered the crimes and confronted the man about it before they reported the sexual assaults to police in the first week of March. It was days later when Schmitt walked into the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and turned himself in, the family member said.

Schmitt knew his victim for several years, the family said, and told her not to tell anyone about the alleged sexual assaults.

This news organization isn’t identifying the family member in order to not identify the sexual assault victim.

Schmitt pleaded guilty to a charge of rape and a charge of gross sexual imposition in court Monday, the same day his trial was set to begin, according to court documents.

He will be back in court on June 30 for sentencing. He faces a possible 16 years in prison, Clark County Prosecutor Andy Wilson said.

The sexual abuse happened hundreds of times between 2003 and 2015, detectives said.

The family of the victim told our reporters they discovered the crimes when they found a religious diary Schmitt kept. The family then confronted the man about the alleged abuse.

“He told me that he was right with God, and I said ‘Just because you’re right with God doesn’t mean you can get away with this,’” the family member said.

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