WILMINGTON — A local man found guilty of multiple counts of rape was sentenced to a mandatory minimum of 24 years in prison with a maximum term of a life sentence.
Keith Carpenter, 49, was sentenced on Monday in Clinton County Common Pleas Court on 11 counts of felony-one rape and two counts of gross sexual imposition — felony three and four, respectively.
Along with the prison term, Clinton County Common Pleas Judge John “Tim” Rudduck ordered Carpenter to register as a Tier 3 sex offender for life.
Carpenter is related to and was in a position of trust to the two victims, who were both under the age of 13 when the offenses began, and those offenses lasted several years.
Before sentencing, both victims spoke during the hearing. One said they don’t care what happens to him. The other said, “I’m going to keep this short and sweet: your choices may have ruined your life, but I can promise you they won’t ruin mine.”
Carpenter’s attorney, Stephen Kilburn, asked the judge for a lighter sentence, citing Carpenter’s former position as a lieutenant with the Martinsville Fire Department, his involvement with his church, and the various other ways he was involved in the community.
Carpenter told the judge there were ”pieces of the puzzle” that weren’t shown or talked about in the hearings, including mental issues Carpenter claimed to have.
Prosecuting attorney Katie Wilkin told Judge Rudduck that Carpenter should face severe punishment due to not only the crime, but also because how he abused the trust of the victims and also used his position in the community to silence them.
“This case is one the most serious because it takes advantage of two individuals who didn’t have anyone else. Instead of using that position to make their lives better, instead of using that position to love and care for them … he perverts that for years,” said Wilkin. “And it is only because of the strength and resiliency” of the victims “that we were able to get justice in trial that day. (The victims) are the ones who brought him to justice, because they were able to pull up the strength … to face a community that really didn’t listen for years.”
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574