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Guilty plea in child sex case

Paternity test proved baby of 12-year-old is the child of a Marietta man

February 1, 2008
By Brad Bauer,
A Marietta man accused of impregnating a 12-year-old girl is left facing up to 10 years in prison and will be labeled a sexual offender with a lifetime reporting requirement after he pleaded guilty in Washington County Common Pleas Court.

Joshua A. Countryman, 20, of 509 Montgomery St., was charged in October with two counts of rape after the girl, now 13, delivered a baby last summer and a paternity test proved the child was his.

During the change of plea hearing, Countryman said it was important the judge understand the acts were consensual.

“You didn’t force yourself on her?” asked Washington County Judge Ed Lane.

“Right,” Countryman replied.

“But she was under the age of 13 and you had sex with her. And you did it twice with her and you have a child with her,” Lane said.

Prosecutors said Countryman engaged in sexual acts with the child on two occasions in December 2006. The girl’s grandfather caught the two in bed once. Countryman maintained there was only one encounter, but the child indicated otherwise. As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to dismiss the second rape count.

“It was only once,” Countryman said.

“Well, that’s what you are pleading to, and it only takes once,” Lane said.

Assistant Washington County Prosecutor Kevin Rings said although Countryman did not force the child into the acts, because of her age she could not consent.

Countryman will be sentenced at 8:15 a.m. March 7. On the rape conviction, Lane can sentence the man to between three and 10 years in prison and order as much as a $20,000 fine. There is a mandatory five-year probation period that will also be included in the sentence, and Countryman will be required to report his home and work address with local police for life upon his release from prison.

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