MIAMI COUNTY — Sending a message that age is not a factor for leniency, Miami County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeannine Pratt sentenced 82-year-old Norman Smock of Casstown to serve 11 months in prison for fourth-degree felony gross sexual imposition.
Smock entered a guilty by Alford plea in a plea agreement with the state to drop a first-degree felony rape charge in June.
He was then was arraigned by bill of information on a new charge of fourth-degree felony gross sexual imposition during the court hearing.
An Alford plea is a guilty plea in criminal court in which a defendant doesn’t admit to the criminal act, yet fears the consequences of the original charges. The state agreed to remain silent at sentencing.
Judge Pratt said while Smock’s attorney Thomas Kollin provided the court a “compelling and very thought out” sentencing memorandum, she found Smock to have no remorse for his actions for inappropriately touching the 7-year-old victim who was known to Smock. The victim, who was not present for the hearing, suffered physical and psychological harm and Smock had held a position of trust with the child. The victim did not provide a victim impact statement to the court.
Pratt said the acts were recent, not from years prior and it was her duty to protect the public. Pratt said Smock’s 11-month sentence was appropriate in his case, as well as to send a message to the community that elderly offenders and their offenses still carry the same consequences as adult offenders. In previous court proceedings, Smock also complied with a competency hearing, which determined he was competent to stand trial and did not suffer from mental illness.
Pratt said she would continue to monitor his case and consider early release if warranted.
He was also labeled a Tier I sex offender. He will register annually for the next 15 years.
Prior to sentencing, Kollin said it was difficult to articulate what Smock was sorry for due to the Alford plea. Kollin also noted his client believes the victim was part of a domestic feud from which the allegations arose. Smock said he would like to move to Pennsylvania with his daughter.
In a previous court hearing, Miami County Sheriff’s Office Detective Todd Cooper testified to the facts of the case. The alleged crime was first reported in July 2018. Cooper interviewed the victim who was 7 years old at the time of the incident. Smock allegedly touched the girl inappropriately at Smock’s home. Smock also allegedly made comments to law enforcement officials that his “hand slipped.”
Smock was arrested on Aug. 1, 2018. He was granted three days of jail credit for time served.
Smock’s previous criminal record included an OVI and fifth-degree felony child endangering conviction in 2003 in Logan County. He was placed on five years of community control, which was deemed successful. In 2010, he was charged with OVI and reckless operation in Bellefontaine.
Upon his release from prison, Smock will serve five years of mandatory post-release control.
Reach Melanie Yingst at email@example.com
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