Jury finds Sutherland guilty of rape

By Meladi Brewer
DailyAdvocate.com

GREENVILLE — A Greenville man was found guilty of two counts of rape in Darke County Common Pleas Court Wednesday. Judge Jonathan P. Hein presided.

Jeffrey “Scott” S. Sutherland, 33, of Greenville was found guilty on two counts of rape by a jury after a three-day trial. Sutherland’s trial was based off allegations he inappropriately touched and raped a female family member under the age of 10 in April 2020.

“I believe the jury reached the right verdict on the two counts of rape that they considered,” Prosecuting attorney Deborah Quigley said.

Sutherland was originally indicted on three counts of rape, all felonies of the first degree, and one count of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, a felony of the fourth degree, which was dropped before the trial took place.

“Based upon the evidence as it was presented at trial regarding count three, as a matter of law, the court was required to dismiss that charge,” Judge Hein said.

Quigley stressed in her closing argument the victim advised the jury of the acts Sutherland allegedly partook in were a form of conduct not just contact.

“She tells you they are in the bedroom and the door is locked. She asked him to stop. She tells you ‘I don’t like it. I told him to stop,’ and he doesn’t until the kids knock on the door,” Quigley said.

Quigley advised the jury there was no evidence the victim was exposed to any sexual content prior to the incidents.

The defense attorney, Mark Wieczorek, brought up the lack of physical evidence against Sutherland, as the DNA swabs from the victim were not tested. He claimed the state only brought forth allegations against his client and advised the jury to think with their brains and not their hearts.

“A mere allegation with nothing more. Nothing. The state says they don’t have DNA, but it seems to me that they have DNA. They just didn’t test it,” Wieczorek said.

He explained it was testified by Dr. Brenda Miceli that a majority of children do not recant.

“Her expert opinion said that most kids do not recant, and we have the victim recanting. She recanted to her mother, and her mother confirmed that,” Wieczorek said.

The victim had told her mother at one time the incident could have been a dream. Dr. Miceli testified Tuesday regarding normal child’s behaviors during traumatic events such as sexual assault cases.

“Children can say memories are like dreams especially with sexual abuse for a number of reasons. One is often times sexual abuse often occurs while children are sleeping or while they are in bed, so there may be some difficulties in understanding. Another reason is children want to separate themselves from something that happened. It is their way of saying this is what happened, but I don’t want to talk about it,” Dr. Miceli said.

The jury deliberated for approximately two hours before reaching a verdict. They found Sutherland guilty on counts one and two of rape. He will serve a mandatory 25 years to life in prison. If Sutherland is ever released from prison, he will have to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life.

To contact Daily Advocate Reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected]