LIMA — With potential jurors already assembled for the start of a trial in Allen County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday morning, a Michigan man with ties to Lima aborted those plans by pleading no contest to charges associated with a rape that took place 11 years ago.
Eric Adams, 44, was found guilty by Judge Jeffrey Reed following his plea and was almost immediately sentenced to 10 years in prison on two first-degree felony counts of rape.
According to prosecutors and court records, on the morning of March 3, 2009, in a home in the 700 block of South Metcalf Street in Lima, Adams fondled a 16-year-old girl and performed various unwanted sex acts on her, including forced oral sex and vaginal penetration. The victim, who knew Adams as a friend of the family, did not report the incident immediately but went to school later that morning and contacted her mother, who called police.
She was later taken to a Lima hospital and was administered a sexual assault kit evaluation. The results of that test were sent to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and DNA found on the victim was determined to be consistent with that of Adams’.
Adams then “was never seen in Lima again and disappeared for 11 years,” Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Kenneth Sturgill said Tuesday. Police had been unable to locate Adams after reportedly reaching out to several law enforcement agencies as far away as Detroit, where it was eventually learned he resided. He was taken into custody last fall.
Prior to sentencing, a letter written by the victim was read aloud in court. In it, the now 27-year-old woman said she “can’t find it in my heart to forgive him (Adams) for what he did to me. … I haven’t cried like I need to, and this is eating me up inside. I want to enjoy my life, but I don’t know how to do that.”
Sturgill asked the judge to impose consecutive sentences on each of the two rape counts, calling Adams “a danger to the public.”
Defense Attorney William Kluge said Adams has “turned his life around” since that incident 11 years earlier and asked Reed to limit his client’s prison term to “five or six years.”
Adams addressed the court briefly, apologizing to his family, the victim, her family “and all parties involved.”
Reed imposed 10-year prison sentences on each of the rape counts but ordered them served consecutively. Adams was also labeled a Tier 3 sex offender and as such must register with the authorities every 90 days for life.