An Akron man was sentenced Monday to life in prison for raping two young sisters who testified against him at his Summit County jury trial last month.
Clayton George was given consecutive life sentences, without any chance of parole, on each of his two rape convictions.
The girls, ages 7 and 10, are undergoing counseling, according to court testimony, and now are under the daily care of their maternal grandmother.
She spoke before George’s sentence was handed down, telling him she was “appalled” by what he did to her granddaughters and what he put them through by taking the case to trial.
“You’re such a despicable person, the things I want to say to you, I’m not permitted. It’s horrible that you have no remorse for what you have done to them,” said the grandmother, whose name is not being used to help protect the identities of the minor children.
By refusing to admit what he did, George chose to put the girls “through the most horrific and embarrassing moments on the stand,” the woman said. “You could have, and should have, stopped this at any time, but you thought they were too afraid of you and too weak to speak out. How wrong you were.”
Both girls testified against George with the help of a specially trained 2-year-old service dog, Avery II, who was brought in by the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office last summer to work with emotionally traumatized victims in such cases.
Summit Assistant Prosecutor Aaron Howell began Monday’s sentencing by telling the judge that George, 31, was offered a plea deal Dec. 31. Although the state’s preferred sentence was life with no chance of parole, Howell said George was offered life with parole eligibility after 30 years to spare the girls from having to testify.
That offer was turned down, Howell said.
George declined to make any comments in open court, but did say he intends to appeal his conviction and sentence.
According to court records filed after the jury’s Jan. 22 guilty verdict, the panel had access in its deliberations to unauthorized information — one sentence long — from one of the victim’s medical records regarding a previous sex offense by George when he was 18.
That offense, court records showed, involved a girl who was 13.
Prosecutors were supposed to redact that information from hundreds of pages of records the jury received as evidentiary exhibits, but they did not recall that the brief reference was included, Howell told the court.
Court records show the jury’s initial vote was 11-1 to convict George on both counts of rape. After reviewing the notation about the prior sex offense, the lone juror changed his vote to guilty.
Based on the unauthorized information, defense attorney Donald Hicks moved to dismiss the indictment, but Common Pleas Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands denied that motion.
After the sentencing, sheriff’s deputies led George, shackled at the wrists and ankles, out of the courtroom. He will be sent to a state penitentiary in about a week.
Ed Meyer can be reached at 330-996-3784 or firstname.lastname@example.org.