LIMA — A young Lima man who admitted earlier this year to engaging in illicit sexual acts, including fondling and taking lewd photographs of a pair of children as young as 4 and then attempting to hide evidence in the case, was sentenced Monday to up to 18 1/2 years in prison.
Perry Jones, 22, accepted a negotiated deal with prosecutors in January and pleaded guilty to six of 19 sex-related charges returned against him by an Allen County grand jury. He was indicted in May of last year on charges ranging from rape to the use of a minor in nudity-oriented material to gross sexual imposition. The rape charge, a first-degree felony that was downgraded to attempted rape through his plea deal, alleges Jones engaged in sexual conduct with a 9-year-old in August through November 2015.
As part of the plea deal, Jones also pleaded to one count of gross sexual imposition, three counts of the illegal use of minors in nudity-oriented material and one count of attempted tampering with evidence.
Allen County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Reed sentenced Jones to a mandatory 10-year prison term on the attempted rape charge; 60 months on the gross sexual imposition charge; two years on the three counts of illegal use of minors in nudity-oriented material (to be served consecutively to one another) and 18 months for tampering with evidence.
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Destiny Caldwell said the victims in the case suffered serious psychological harm and asked the court to impose a lengthy sentence.
Defense Attorney John Hopkins said his client has admitted to drug and alcohol use and has a history of mental health issues. “That’s not intended as an excuse for his behavior, but I would ask the court for leniency,” Hopkins said.
Jones apologized to his victims and accepted responsibility for his actions.
“I don’t know how, or why, or when I did those acts; all I can say is that I’m sorry,” said Jones. “I don’t know what else I can do except to try and make myself a better person. I did it, and I apologize. I should have got help when it was offered to me. I want to get the help now.”
Jones was labeled a Tier III sex offender and will be required to register with local authorities every 90 days for the rest of his life.
Reach J Swygart at 567-242-0464.