Muskingum County Prosecutor
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 23, 2023
Appeals Court upholds life sentence of Zanesville rapist
The Fifth District Court of Appeals upheld the life sentence of a Zanesville man who was convicted during a trial last year of raping a young child.
Robert Hearing was convicted of one count of rape for digitally penetrating the child, one count of gross sexual imposition for having sexual contact with the child and eight counts of pandering obscenity involving a minor for taking and sending graphic photos of the child.
Hearing’s attorney, Bradley Koffel, of Columbus, appealed the conviction and sentencing, claiming that, among other arguments, there was insufficient evidence for the charges, that the photos the defendant took of the child victim’s vagina were not obscene and that the defendant’s actions were not rape.
At trial, Prosecutor Ron Welch presented evidence, including an interview with the defendant in which Hearing admitted to taking numerous sexually explicit photos of the victim and touching the victim.
A witness from Nationwide Children’s Hospital explained during her testimony that the way the defendant touched the victim with his fingers involved going inside the vagina.
The defense argued that the part of the victim that the defendant touched was located outside the vagina, not inside.
The three-judge panel from Fifth District Court of Appeals, consisting of Judge Scott Gwinn, Judge John Wise and Judge Patricia Delaney, upheld the guilty verdicts, establishing that where and how Hearing admitted to touching the victim was enough evidence to find beyond a reasonable doubt that Hearing committed the crime of rape.
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