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Sex offender sentenced to 15 years in prison

Cary Ashby • Nov 26, 2019 at 12:00 AM

A Norwalk man is spending a lengthy prison sentence for raping a 4-year-old girl.

Lee M. Newkirk, 48, pleaded guilty Nov. 19 to one count each of rape and sexual battery. As part of a plea deal, prosecutors dismissed a second charge of sexual battery, a second-degree felony, and one count of gross sexual imposition, a third-degree felony.

After Newkirk’s guilty plea, Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway sentenced him to 15 years in prison. The judge also classified the defendant as a Tier III sex offender, which means Newkirk will be required to register his address with the sheriff’s office every 90 days for his lifetime. His classification comes with required community notification.

Newkirk’s convictions are for May 25, 2018 incidents, involving a child who was 4 years old at the time, according to his indictment.

Defense attorney Sarah Nation declined to comment.

Detective Sgt. Seth Fry, of the Norwalk Police Department, investigated the case.

“The child reported it to her mother and the mother took her to the hospital,” Fry said. “It was a relative of (Newkirk’s) girlfriend at the time.”

Police submitted a rape kit from a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation for processing. Fry said Newkirk’s DNA, which was collected via a search warrant, also went to BCI.

“It was his DNA, yes,” the detective added.

Fry said he spoke to the victim’s mother Monday and she said her daughter was doing well.

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