Prosecuting Attorney Colleen Williams said Dustin A. Barnette, 22, entered guilty pleas to the four charges of rape in Meigs County Common Pleas Court Monday. Judge Fred W. Crow III sentenced Barnette on one count yesterday, and continued sentencing on the remaining three counts to March 23.
Williams said Barnette had been scheduled for a jury trial on the four rape counts on Tuesday, but said the trial was canceled after Barnette agreed to the guilty pleas. Rape is a first-degree felony, carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years.
The victim in the case was under 12 years old, and the incident occured in spring, 2008, Williams said.
Williams credited the Pomeroy police, her staff, and Meigs County Children’s Services staff for the sucessful prosecution of the case, giving special thanks to Assistant Prosecutor Matthew J. Donahue and Assistant Attorney General Emily Laube.
Barnette was also classified as a Tier 3 sexual offender, and will be required to register as such for the rest of his life, Williams said. He was remanded to the custody of the sheriff to begin serving his 10-year term.