GALLIPOLIS — A prison sentence was handed down in the Common Pleas Court of Gallia County last week against a man who was found guilty of gross sexual imposition.
Anthony Owens, 33, of Gallipolis, was sentenced Thursday to a mandatory prison term of 48 months after he was found guilty in June of having sexual contact with girl who was less than 10 years of age at the time of the offense.
A case that has been ongoing for several years, Owens was initially indicted in May 2011 after he allegedly engaged in sexual conduct with the victim on two separate occasions and forced the victim, identified only as “Jane Doe,” to touch his erogenous zone between Jan. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2009.
Within the indictment, “Jane Doe’s” date of birth is listed as 2001.
Following his initial arraignment hearing in June 2011, Owens was later released on his own recognizance and was ordered to have no contact with the alleged victim in this case.
Owens subsequently filed a waiver of speedy trial limits and, following months of litigation and several continuations, the case came before the court for a jury trial on Nov. 20-21, 2013.
During this first trial, Owens appeared with his retained counselors, Jeffery L. Finley and William N. Eachus. The state of Ohio in this case was represented by special prosecutors Marianne Hemmeter and Amanda Bunner of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
According to a journal entry filed following this trial and signed by presiding judge Michael Ward — Judge D. Dean Evans recused himself from the case — on the date of the trial last year, a jury was selected and empaneled, and “during the presentation of the state’s evidence, it became apparent that the defense attorney’s continued representation of the defendant presented a conflict of interest. Therefore, the state of Ohio, by counsel, and the defendant, personally and by counsel, jointly moved for mistrial. The court declared a mistrial with respect to all counts of the indictment.”
Following the filing of this judgment entry, the speedy trial time limits resumed and a journal entry was not filed until early this year, when the court ordered that the matter be scheduled for a pre-trial conference on June 16 and jury trial be scheduled on June 23.
Following three days of testimony in his trial, a jury returned with its verdict against Owens after approximately 12 1/2 hours of deliberation.
They found the defendant not guilty of two counts of rape, but guilty to the one count of gross sexual imposition as outlined in the indictment.
Following the reading of the verdict on June 26, the defendant’s bond was revoked and he was remanded to the custody of the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office. Owens was subsequently released after bond in the amount of $25,000 cash was posted on June 30.
During the sentencing hearing Thursday, Owens appeared with his counsel Charles Knight, while Hemmeter and Brad Turner of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office appeared on behalf of the state.
In addition to the defendant’s four-year prison sentence, and pursuant to the judgment, the defendant will be classified as a Tier II Sexually Oriented Offender and, upon his release from prison, he will be ordered to register with the sheriff’s office within the county of his residence every 180 days for a period of 25 years.
Owens was given credit for a period of eight days served and was ordered to pay the costs of prosecution.