A Washington C.H. man who raped a girl under 10-years-old was sentenced to prison Thursday for a total of 20 years to life.
In Fayette County Common Pleas Court, Jeffrey P. Keller, 34, of 127 N. Oakland Ave., pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree felony rape after reaching an agreement with the Fayette County Prosecutor’s Office. On the first count of rape, which specified that Keller raped a child under 10, he received 15 years to life in prison, and for the second count of rape, Judge Steven Beathard added five years to the sentence.
Keller will not be eligible for parole until after he serves at least 20 years.
“The victim’s family originally wanted a life without parole sentence, but the only way that would’ve happened was with a conviction through a trial,” said Fayette County Prosecutor Jess Weade. “They did not want to put the victim through that trial process. Because of that, the State of Ohio and the family were willing to come off of the life without parole sentence and make this agreement with the defendant.”
Keller was also classified as a Tier III sex offender, the most serious sex offender classification in Ohio.
Tier III offenders must register with the county sheriff every 90 days for life. In addition, they must register any change of residential address, place of employment, or enrollment in a school or institution of higher education. Tier III sex offenders are also subject to community notification, which means upon a change of address, the county sheriff will provide notice to a neighborhood within 1,250 feet of the sex offender’s residential address. The county sheriff will also provide notice to schools, day-care providers, and law enforcement agencies within the 1,250-foot radius.
This conviction stems from an incident that was originally reported on July 29 to Fayette County Children Services, which referred the victim and her mother to Children’s Hospital. A social worker at Children’s Hospital who processed the case then reported it to the Washington C.H. Police Department.
The victim reported that her mother’s live-in boyfriend sexually assaulted her, reports said.
On Sept. 16, Keller was asked to come to the police department for questioning, according to reports. He voluntarily drove to the department and was given his Miranda rights, police said.
“Once that was completed he was told about the complaint of sexual conduct with a person under the age of 13 that was filed against him,” according to the police report. “The defendant admitted to having sexual conduct with the person under the age of 13.”
Keller was then placed under arrest, charged with rape and was taken to the Fayette County Jail.
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica.