Ed Meyer

An Akron man was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without parole eligibility until he serves 25 years for raping a girl under the age of 13.

In July, a Summit County jury convicted Mark A. Randles, 59, of Morningview Avenue, of the crime, along with a felony charge of gross sexual imposition.

The offenses occurred over four years, beginning when the girl was 7 years old, prosecutors said.

Randles, who has been in custody at the county jail for one year, turned himself in to Akron police after the girl told her mother about the abuse.

He appeared in court Wednesday morning for sentencing, using a walker, clutching the top rails tightly as he stood before the bench and appearing to wince with his head lowered as the girl’s mother and aunt addressed the court.

Randles gave a brief, mostly inaudible comment when asked by Common Pleas Judge Thomas A. Teodosio if he had anything to say, but did ask for mercy at the conclusion.

Attorney David Lombardi had asked the court to consider some form of incarceration other than a state penitentiary because of Randles’ physical infirmities.

Teodosio turned down that request, telling Randles what he did and how he conducted himself at his trial showed mercy was not warranted.

“In reviewing the pre­sentence reports and observing your conduct leaving the courtroom, there is absolutely no remorse shown by you in this case,” Teodosio said.

“This was a young child whose life has been impacted for years and years to come. It’s a continuing injury,” he said, “so it’s the most severe case, in my view, other than a case where there is a loss of life.”

The girl’s mother told the court that she and her family were stunned and deeply hurt when they heard Randles blurt an obscenity at them as his trial ended.

“I’ve had a whole year to try to figure out what I wanted to say,” the child’s mother told the court, reading from a written statement, “but it has been an exhausting process. Every time I try to write how I feel, I begin to cry. The thoughts of this horrible crime have made me think.

“I wondered what, as a parent, I did wrong, how could I have let this happen, why did he do it? I don’t know if these questions will ever be answered.”

She said that after she confronted Randles last year about what her daughter had told her, he confessed.

Crying at that point and finding it difficult to continue, the mother collected herself and told the court Randles had “taken everything [from her daughter], her right to grow up in her own time and experience adulthood on her own terms. Now all she will have is thoughts and memories of a time she will wish never would have happened.”

Another family member said in a Beacon Journal interview before sentencing that the child is going to a new school now and receiving counseling.

“She’s doing wonderfully, but [Randles] gave her a life sentence, and he should get the same,” the woman said.

The Beacon Journal is withholding the names of the relatives to protect the identify of the girl.

Teodosio did grant Randles credit for the 365 days of time served in the county jail.

Ed Meyer can be reached at 330-996-3784 or emeyer@thebeaconjournal.com.