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Thursday, October 11th, 2007

Celina man gets 20 years prison for sexual battery

Female victim was 13 years old when attacks occurred

By Margie Wuebker
A Celina man convicted of five counts of sexual battery is headed to prison following an appearance in Mercer County Common Pleas Court.
Richard Mittie, 52, 4264 Mud Pike, showed no emotion as Judge Jeffrey Ingraham imposed a sentence of four years incarceration on each of the five counts with the time to run consecutively. He received credit for 74 days already served during disposition of the case.
Mittie must serve at least six years of the 20-year total sentence before being eligible for judicial release. It would be up to a judge to approve or deny the request.
Prior to sentencing Ingraham conducted a sex offender classification hearing and found Mittie to be a sexual predator. That equates to a Tier III perpetrator - the most serious - under the new classification program that goes into effect Jan. 1. As such, he must register his address with the appropriate sheriff's office every 90 days for life upon release from prison.
Neither the teenage victim nor members of her family spoke at the proceeding but they did submit written impact statements to the court. Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Matt Fox said the victim's primary concern was for the next victim when Mittie is released at some point in the future.
"He had power and control over the situation," Fox added. "And he failed to act like an adult. There was only one adult involved and that was Mr. Mittie."
Defense attorney Peter Van Arsdel alluded to his client's alcohol problems, saying, "He made wrong choices and realizes what he did was very wrong."
Ingraham specifically noted a lack of remorse on Mittie's behalf in the presentence and psychosexual evaluations, both of which were sealed following the proceeding. The Celina man has no previous criminal convictions.
"Your action caused great concern for the court," the judge added before imposing sentence.
A Mercer County grand jury returned a 15-count indictment July 19 charging Mittie with five counts each of rape, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and sexual battery. The rape and unlawful sexual conduct charges were dismissed later during plea negotiations. Sexual battery involves conduct with a child under the age of 14.
The victim, who was 13 years old at the time of the offenses, reportedly told a cousin on the MySpace Web site what had transpired between her and Mittie during the winter of 2004-2005 and the spring of 2005. The confidante then shared the information with an adult relative who alerted the Mercer County Sheriff's Office and Mercer County Children's Services.
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