One by one, the young Stow girls walked to the front of a Summit County courtroom Tuesday afternoon and faced Scott Brundage.

They called him a monster, a predator, a liar.

And, they told him he couldn’t hurt them anymore.

“We’re not scared of you,” said one of the girls, whom Brundage raped on her 14th birthday. “We are in control. You are not.”

The girls’ tearful statements were the highlight of Brundage’s emotional sentencing in Summit County Common Pleas Court.

Brundage, 51, of Garfield Heights, accepted a plea agreement with prosecutors April 2 after his trial had started, with a jury picked and opening statements about to begin. He pleaded guilty to rape and five counts of gross sexual imposition for assaulting six girls. Prosecutors agreed to dismiss several other charges.

Brundage later asked to withdraw his pleas but Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands denied his request.

Rowlands sentenced Brundage to 24 years in prison Tuesday and designated him a Tier III sex offender, which means he must register his address for the rest of his life. The maximum he faced was 29 years.

“Yes!” a man seated in the gallery of the packed courtroom exclaimed when he heard the sentence.

Brundage, who claims to be innocent, plans to appeal Rowlands’ denial of his plea-removal request. He didn’t speak during the sentencing, though he shook his head and scowled.

If Brundage had gone to trial and been convicted of all the charges against him, he faced up to life in prison.

Prosecutors said the girls ranged in age from 9 to 14 at the time of the incidents. An investigation began when the youngest girl reported in January 2017 that Brundage had sexually assaulted her.

Police determined the girl’s sisters also were assaulted between August and late November 2016. In March 2017, another woman reported that Brundage had also assaulted her daughters.

The Beacon Journal generally doesn’t name sexual assault victims.

Assistant Prosecutor Jennie Shuki said she has worked as a prosecutor for 18 years and has “never had a case with this many victims and one perpetrator.” She said the girls have suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, attempted suicide and undergone counseling. She suggested a sentence of 25 years in prison.

“It’s impacted their young lives,” she said. “He used a position of trust to groom them, to gain their love. Then, he took advantage of that.”

Kirk Migdal, Brundage’s attorney, didn’t speak during the sentencing, except to say his client plans to appeal.

The girls and their parents, however, had plenty to say.

One of the girls said Brundage took away two years of her childhood. She said she was embarrassed and thought what Brundage did to her was her fault. She wishes she had spoken up sooner because this might have spared her sisters and friends from also being assaulted.

“You are a wicked monster who deserves to rot in jail,” she said to Brundage.

Another girl said she trusted Brundage and he broke that trust.

“You made me feel as if there was something wrong with me,” she said.

She said her grades dropped and she lost friends. She said she developed an eating disorder and underwent counseling in which she was diagnosed with PTSD and anxiety.

“I forgive you for everything you did,” she said to Brundage. “Hopefully, you can become a better person while you rot in jail.”

Another girl, who had Avery, the prosecutor’s service dog, by her side as she spoke, said Brundage raped her when she was 10. She said she cut herself, tried to kill herself and has been hospitalized.

“You hurt me and you hurt all my friends,” she said. “You are a child predator.”

The mother of several of the girls said she wakes to screams and runs from room to room to see which of her daughters is yelling.

“He is every parent’s worst nightmare,” she said. “He is evil.”

The father of several of the girls said he regrets he wasn’t able to protect his daughters. He turned and addressed the girls, telling them he was proud of them.

“You presented yourselves with such courage,” he said. “You have the strength to move forward with your lives. You are so much stronger than this garbage.”

 

Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705, swarsmith@thebeaconjournal.com and on Twitter: @swarsmithabj.