Former Kent man who sexually assaulted girl, 13, sentenced to probation

labeled sex offender for incident in may

By Dave O'Brien | Staff Writer Published:

A former Kent man has been sentenced to nine months in the Portage County jail and been labeled a sex offender after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a 13-year-old Kent girl in May.

Robert A. Ashworth, 34, now of Cuyahoga Falls, was sentenced Tuesday by Portage County Common Pleas Judge Laurie Pittman to 365 days in the Portage County jail, with work release privileges, along with four years on probation. With credit for 95 days already served in jail, Ashworth will serve about 270 days in jail.

Pittman also labeled Ashworth a Tier I sex offender, requiring him to register his address with his local sheriff's office once a year for the next 15 years.

She ordered him to have no contact with the victim or her family, who were his neighbors in Kent, and to stay at least 500 feet away from them at all times.

Ashworth also was fined $350 and ordered to get a mental health evaluation.

Initially charged with rape for an incident on May 27, Ashworth pleaded guilty to gross sexual imposition, a fourth-degree felony. The incident, Assistant Portage County Prosecutor Steve Michniak said in court, was a result of Ashworth providing alcohol to the girl and her siblings at a bonfire at his house.

That led to sexual "touching" of the girl by Ashworth in his garage, Michniak said. The rape charge would have been hard to prove because investigators could not determine if there was any penetration because of the victim's level of intoxication, he said.

In a victim impact statement, the girl's mother told Pittman that her daughter "could not attend (the hearing) because she can not mentally face Robert Ashworth."

"She has nightmares, and our neighborhood is in turmoil," the mother said, asking the judge to give Ashworth the maximum sentence -- 18 months in prison, under Ohio law -- because of the "pain my 13-year-old daughter goes through every day."

Pittman told the woman that instead of prison, local sanctions including jail and probation will "allow me to keep my thumb on (Ashworth)."

Ashworth told Pittman he is "extremely sorry for all the grief this has caused all the parties."

Pittman told Ashworth that if he violates his probation, he will not be given a second chance.

"Don't worry about tougher sanctions," in the case of a probation violation, she said. "You are going to prison."

Follow Dave O'Brien on Twitter at @RCCrimeWatch

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1128 or dobrien@recordpub.com

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  • It is sentencing like this that makes me ask, does this guy have something on the judge? Or maybe he has a relative that is a power in the Democratic Party. I can not believe that nay judge would give this light of a sentence without some kind of force being in play here.

  • Thanks Portage County courts, with such a lite sentence all baby rapist will come into our county to find their victims.

  • This must be a misprint. I think what she meant to say is that she wanted to keep this man under her robe and not her thumb. What a disgrace Pittman is. That poor family.

  • I say we let the man fondle the judge, even put his thumb on her..... See if then the sentence should only be a year. And work release? This is so wrong. Why is Portage run so poorly? Registering a sex offender does nothing for the safety of the accuser or other children. And yes he will get a second chance, and a third, and a forth. Will be looking for his name to surface in the next few months.

  • We do not sentence Baby Rapers according to the Ohio Revised Code. Portage County sentences Baby Rapers using the Judge Laurie knows best, "RULE of THUMB" sentencing guide. What a SHAME!!!

  • A man had some pot and mushroons, he got 8 years. How can these folks sleep at night. Another fine deal provide by "The Portage County Discount House of Justice" Lowest Sentences, Always! No Plea Deal Refused! Special discounts for baby rapers. Ask Judge Laurie for details.

  • i think the system needs tweaked if it posted my comment three times. my comment wasnt that good : )

  • I realize rape is hard to prove, but how do other rape charges stick in similar situations? Judge: this was a 34 yr. old, providing alcohol to a young gal, admits to at least fondling her in the garage... this sentence seems wrong. 95 days in jail for the pleasure of a 13 yr. old and he is 34? I dont think so. wrong ruling here, Judge. Oh, thats right, if he steps out of line, you will really throw the book at him ; ) YOU MUST HAVE A VERY VERY BIG THUMB ! we got ya.

  • I realize rape is hard to prove, but how do other rape charges stick in similar situations? Judge: this was a 34 yr. old, providing alcohol to a young gal, admits to at least fondling her in the garage... this sentence seems wrong. 95 days in jail for the pleasure of a 13 yr. old and he is 34? I dont think so. wrong ruling here, Judge. Oh, thats right, if he steps out of line, you will really throw the book at him ; ) YOU MUST HAVE A VERY VERY BIG THUMB ! we got ya.

  • I realize rape is hard to prove, but how do other rape charges stick in similar situations? Judge: this was a 34 yr. old, providing alcohol to a young gal, admits to at least fondling her in the garage... this sentence seems wrong. 95 days in jail for the pleasure of a 13 yr. old and he is 34? I dont think so. wrong ruling here, Judge. Oh, thats right, if he steps out of line, you will really throw the book at him ; ) YOU MUST HAVE A VERY VERY BIG THUMB ! we got ya.

  • Testing this new system out. Another molester, Another Portage County sentence.