Last updated: April 15. 2014 4:59PM - 2597 Views
Amber Gillenwater agillenwater@civitasmedia.com

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GALLIPOLIS — A former caretaker was sentenced Monday in Gallia County Common Pleas Court after he reportedly abused or neglected a disabled person.

After pleading guilty to a fourth-degree felony charge of patient abuse, William Crane, 35, of Middleport, was sentenced by Common Pleas Judge D. Dean Evans to two years of community control.

Following Monday’s hearing, Assistant Gallia County prosecuting attorneys Eric Mulford and Britt Wiseman said the case would have, prior to the passage of Ohio House Bill 86, elicited a prison term.

“The sentence of community control, rather than prison, is required under House Bill 86, which changed the law on felony sentencing as of 2011,” Mulford said. “If the defendant violates the terms of his community control, we expect him to be sentenced to 17 months of prison.”

An indictment was filed Sept. 12, 2013, following the alleged abuse that occurred on Aug. 29, 2012, according to the indictment.

The indictment further specifies that Crane, being the owner, operator, administrator, agent or employee of a care facility, did “knowingly commit abuse against a resident or patient of the care facility …”

Following the filing of his indictment last year, Crane was arrested on a warrant and appeared for an arraignment hearing with his appointed counsel, defense attorney Barbara Wallen.

He was later released on an own recognizance bond.

Crane subsequently entered a guilty plea during a hearing last month in common pleas court and, during Monday’s hearing, as a condition of his community control sentence, Crane was further ordered to pay $50 a month while on probation, perform community service and register with Ohio Employment Services, if unemployed.

He was further ordered to have no contact with the residents or property of Porter Road Group Home.

Wiseman reported following the hearing that the matter was taken seriously by the prosecution as it not only involved the abuse of a patient, but a disabled patient.

“Even though the assault would have been a misdemeanor if the victim had not been disabled, we take this offense very seriously and insisted on a guilty plea to the charge rather than a lesser offense,” Wiseman said.

Mulford and Wiseman thanked the Gallia County Board of Developmental Disabilities and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation for their “diligence in investigating this matter.”

Crane was given credit for a total of two days jail time credit served and was ordered to pay the costs of prosecution.

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