Note: This story appears in the Tuesday, July 2 newspaper on Page A1.
After pleading guilty in Athens County Common Pleas Court to indictments charging 12 sex offenses, 19-year-old Brandon Humphrey of Nelsonville was sentenced Friday to nine years in prison.
Judge George McCarthy pronounced sentence after Humphrey pleaded guilty to six counts of rape, four counts of gross sexual imposition and one count of sexual battery, all felonies, and one misdemeanor charge of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.
The guilty plea came as part of a plea agreement in which the nine-year sentence was recommended. Some of the charges were merged for sentencing.
Most of the offenses occurred while Humphrey was under the age of 18 and some when he was 18. All of the victims were teenaged girls.
Five of the girls made victim impact statements, some in writing and some in court.
One said she experienced feelings of disgust, embarrassment and shame.
“Some of the people I thought would support me called me a liar and took his side,” she wrote, adding that she experienced victim shaming on social media.
“It wasn’t all bad, I also learned there are plenty of people who are understanding and keep an open mind, realizing that a person isn’t always what they appear to be and believed me and showed me support and compassion.
“No one wants to believe their friend or family member is sick enough or capable of these things,” she continued. “Just because you don’t want it to be true doesn’t make the situation any better.”
Another of the girls wrote that she believes Humphrey doesn’t think what he did was wrong.
“How would you feel if you were violated while you were sleeping? I hope you find out how it feels,” she said. “You are mentally sick and I wish you could get help so no one else goes through this. But you also deserve everything that is happening to you. I think about what you did all the time, constantly. I can’t get it off of my mind.”
One of the girls said she felt betrayed by Humphrey.
“He took my ability to trust away because of the manipulation and lying. I feel he is dangerous, not only to me but to everyone,” she wrote. “For months I hid what he did to me out of fear, a fear that he created. He silenced my voice. When he was arrested and remained in jail, I started to feel stronger, I started to get my life back.”
Some of the girls faced Humphrey in court.
“I use to know you as the guy who went out with (friends), and now you’re the guy who sexually assaulted me, along with all these other girls,” one girl told him. “I mean it’s really not important to you, apparently, if you can’t look at me and accept what you have done. But you just really ought to know you messed up.”
One of the girls thanked the other victims.
“I would like to thank the other girls for coming forward and helping me feel brave enough to share my story also,” she said.
One girl expressed concern that what happened to her will affect her future relationships.
“I thought you were someone I could trust, confide in and always count on. All of that was completely shattered,” she said. “My ability to trust other people may never be normal, which will make it negatively affect all of my future relationships, friendships and relationships which can be more than that.”
McCarthy also gave Humphrey an opportunity to speak.
“I’d like to apologize on my behalf,” Humphrey said. “My intentions were not to harm anybody or hurt them in any way. I apologize.”
The sentence imposed by McCarthy requires that Humphrey have no contact, either directly or indirectly, with any of the victims. He said Humphrey must comply with the requirements of a Tier III sex offender. That includes lifetime address registration, and the requirement he must verify the address every 90 days.