Man sentenced for raping niece

James Fetty

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — A Struthers man was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison on 60 sex charges that say he raped his 8-year-old niece.

James M. Fetty, 54, was handed down the sentence Wednesday by Mahoning County Common Pleas Court Judge Lou D’Apolito. Fetty was classified as a Tier III sex offender, which means he must register with the sheriff’s office every 90 days for the rest of his life after he’s released from prison.

In court, Fetty was heavily shackled and had duct tape holding his glasses together. He showed little emotion as prosecutors described what was discovered at the defendant’s home in Struthers when he was arrested in July of last year.

“It was as if opening Pandora’s Box. There was extensive child pornography that was located at his residence,” said Assistant Mahoning County Prosecutor Natasha Frenchko.

But the pornography was just the tip of the iceberg as during the investigation, prosecutors said Fetty admitted to sexually abusing his niece.

Fetty previously pleaded guilty to one count of rape, six counts of gross sexual imposition, one count of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, importuning and 51 counts of pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor.

Prosecutors recommended a 20-year sentence. The alleged incidents occurred  between 2005 and 2010, beginning when the girl was 8.

Assistant Mahoning County Prosecutor Natasha Frenchko said the girl and her family moved in with Fetty after the girl’s father was diagnosed with cancer and eventually died.

“And that time, as her father’s getting more and more ill, the defendant, her uncle, is supposed to be caring for her and helping them care for her,” Frenchko said. “And instead of caring for her, he was actually abusing her.”

The victim was not in court and prosecutors said she is now in counseling.

“She goes to church all the time. She has asked her family ‘why did God let this happen to me?’,” Frenchko said.

When it was his turn to speak, the defendant pleaded for leniency, claiming he had been victimized himself years ago..

“My dad was very abusive, physically, mentally and sexually,” Fetty said.

But Judge Lou D’Apolito said he was more concerned with Fetty’s victim, who is now 16.

“Her purity and her goodness was destroyed by your needs,” D’Apolito said.

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