A 40-year-old Park Layne man facing three rape charges was granted an “own recognizance” bond during his arraignment in Clark County Common Pleas Court on Thursday.
James Gibson, formerly of 1221 Campbell Ave., was directly indicted by a Clark County grand jury Feb. 4 on three counts of rape of a victim under the age of 10. The charges were brought by the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office in conjunction with the Clark County Child Advocacy Center.
During Gibson’s arraignment, the prosecutor requested a $25,000 bond due to the nature of the charges, which include a possible life sentence, if convicted. Magistrate Melinda Reardon ruled that because there wasn’t any “new facts” in the case to override the “own recognizance” bond Gibson was granted since his indictment, she did not set a cash bond.
The news was “devastating” for the victim’s father, who said he feels his daughter and other children could be in danger by Gibson being free.
“He’s facing life in prison, so who’s to say he (doesn’t) grab him another little girl and take her off somewhere?” he said. “That would be on the magistrate.”
Reardon did order Gibson to not contact the alleged victim. She said she stands by her decision made in court and is not allowed to comment further on pending cases.
The sexual relationship was discovered in September when the 9-year-old girl reported it to her doctor and mother. Gibson has a personal relationship with the victim.
“When I found this out, that he did this to her, as a father it felt like I failed because I couldn’t protect her,” he said. “Something’s been taken from her that you can’t say ‘sorry,’ that you can’t put back, you can’t pay restitution and make it all better. That’s gone. This is a life sentence for her.”
The father, who is not being identified in order to protect the victim, said although he is angry Gibson is not in jail, he hopes the court process will move quickly. He’s asked family and friends to write letters to the prosecutor’s office and judge to request a speedy resolution. Although he’s proud of his daughter for coming forward, he said he worries the toll a lengthy trial process could take.
“If she has to testify and she is going up on the stand, she’s strong I know and she’ll do great, but at what cost?” he said.
Gibson has filed a request for a jury trial. A pre-trial hearing has not yet been set.