June 29, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Child rapist, 80, gets 14 to 20 years for crimes two decades old

MEDINA — An 80-year-old Medina Township man will spend 14 to 20 years in prison for repeatedly raping a young boy and molesting a young girl two decades ago.

Robert D. Law, of 4898 Century Oak Circle, pleaded guilty in December to rape and gross sexual imposition, first- and third-degree felonies. He received the maximum prison sentence.

Robert Law

Robert Law

Law’s attorney, Matthew Gaeckle, said at a Wednesday hearing that his client admitted to his actions — but he’s not the same person anymore. Law admitted his crimes to investigators, police have said.

“The man who did those things is not the man in front of you today,” Gaeckle told Medina County Common Pleas Judge Christopher J. Collier. “Here’s a man who’s 20 years removed from the crime and there’s nothing else I can say but that it’s awful.”

He said his client accepted a plea because Law didn’t want to put the victims through a trial. As part of the agreement, charges were dropped of aggravated rape, rape, complicity to commit rape and a specification that he raped a child under age 13, which could have landed Law a life sentence in prison.

“He wanted to avoid the awful spectacle that would have been a trial, which would have put two victims on the stand,” Gaeckle said.

The judge said a pre-sentence interview between probation officers and Law spoke to the contrary.

“The defendant’s version of events to my probation department is at odds with what was presented by counsel for the defendant,” Collier said.

Law denied to probation officers that he ever raped the boy, Collier said. Law said he was examining abdominal scars from a surgery the girl had and that he never intended it to be sexual.

The boy, now 24 years old, told police he was between the ages of 4 and 8 when Law repeatedly raped him. The girl, now 28, was 3 or 4 years old at the time.

“There is no acceptance of responsibility at all in this matter. None,” Collier said, and then addressed the girl’s family: “I’m not sure whose embarrassment he’s trying to cover — yours or his.”

The judge said Law could have withdrawn his guilty plea and gone to trial if he thought he didn’t do what he was accused of.

Law’s attorney said his client probably would not appeal the sentence.

“He knew something of this nature was coming,” Gaeckle said. “He did not want to harm them any more.”

County Prosecutor Dean Holman said the children lived in Michigan and visited Law over the summer when the abuse occurred. According to an April 10 indictment, Law molested the children in 1989, 1994, 1996 and 1997, and also aided an unidentified person in raping the boy in 1997.

Law was between 55 and 64 years old during those years.

“The conduct of Mr. Law was reprehensible,” Holman told the judge. “That is their memory of childhood, your honor.”

Law was arrested March 27 after a four-month joint investigation between the county sheriff’s detective bureau and the FBI’s Akron branch. The FBI was involved because Law brought the children across state lines, detectives said.

One of the children alerted the FBI, who contacted the detective bureau because it has a joint-FBI task force to investigate crimes against children. Investigators looked into whether there were more victims, but found none.

Law was charged under laws contemporary to the time of the abuse. If he had been charged under current law, he would have faced a maximum 16 years in prison for first- and third-degree felonies.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.

Nick Glunt About Nick Glunt

Nick Glunt primarily covers courts and crime in Medina County. He served The Gazette from September 2012 to December 2015. Contact him at (330) 721-4048 or via email at nglunt@medina-gazette.com.