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National Guardsman convicted of sexually abusing daughters

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    Defense attorney George Leach, right, defends his client against Union County charges of sexually assaulting three adopted daughters and his stepdaughter, as Judge David Faulkner observes, on May 11, in Marysville, Ohio.

MARYSVILLE, Ohio » An Ohio National Guardsman accused of sexually abusing three adopted daughters and a stepdaughter at their home and trying to intimidate his children so they wouldn’t discuss the allegations against him was convicted on Friday.

The Marysville man, 42, had been charged with 35 crimes, including rape, sexual battery, gross sexual imposition, intimidation and tampering with evidence. The charges were brought several years after he’d told a military publication that he wanted to adopt a girl from Africa to protect her from rape.

The guardsman was convicted of 15 of the 23 counts, including rape and sexual battery. The remaining counts had been dropped before the case went to the jury.

He could face up to life in prison when he’s sentenced June 30. Ohio Attorney General’s Office spokeswoman Jill Del Greco said prosecutors wouldn’t comment until after the sentencing. Messages seeking comment were left with the man’s defense attorneys Friday night.

The guardsman, who testified in his own defense, was accused of abusing girls who were under age 13 at the time, with one as young as 5.

"Absolutely not," the guardsman said Wednesday, when asked by his attorney if he had abused an adopted daughter.

Prosecutors alleged he touched the girls in inappropriate, sexual ways and forced two of them to perform sex acts on him. They alleged the man and his wife abruptly sent a girl who had been living with them out of state in July 2012, after she learned of the abuse and reported it to relatives. They alleged the parents then threatened the remaining children in the family with a similar fate to keep them from talking about what they knew.

The guardsman and the wife denied this allegation, saying they had been planning for several days to return the girl to her adoptive parents in Idaho because she was disruptive and intimidated the other children.

The man’s wife testified that she never saw signs of abuse in the home, and they said one of the girls once threatened to make an allegation of sex abuse if her phone was taken away.

The guardsman and his wife also acknowledged allegations that the woman’s son sexually assaulted children in the house, while the guardsman said his nephew was also suspected of sexually assaulting one of his stepdaughters years ago.

The wife has pleaded not guilty to charges of intimidation and evidence tampering, and her attorney has declined to comment. She is scheduled for trial later this year.

An updated indictment against her included 13 intimidation-related charges and an evidence-tampering count related to the girl who was sent to Idaho. The 37-year-old woman also is charged with obstructing justice.

Prosecutors say that she falsely told police that the children denied the sexual assault allegations and that she intimidated one of the girls so she would write a letter to that effect.

The Associated Press isn’t naming the couple to protect the children’s identities.

A Union County assistant prosecutor handling the case earlier, Terry Hord, said last year that the children no longer live with the guardsman, but he wouldn’t discuss where they were or how they were doing.

This story has been corrected to reflect that the girl sent out of state was a fifth child and not among the four victims.

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