Youngstown man gets 8 years for rape of girl, 12

By John W. Goodwin Jr.

The victim’s mother is not happy with the sentence.

YOUNGSTOWN — A 27-year-old city man will serve eight years in prison for the 2007 rape of a 12-year-old relative.

Michael Zechar, of Compton Lane, appeared before Judge John M. Durkin of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court for sentencing Wednesday afternoon. He was found guilty of two counts of rape earlier this year.

Zechar could have been sentenced to as little as three years or as much as 20 years in prison. Prosecutors asked for the maximum sentence.

Judge Durkin sentenced Zechar to eight years in prison and five years’ parole upon his release from prison. Zechar also will have to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life.

Before the sentence was imposed, the now 14-year-old victim’s mother read a statement to the court.

The woman said her daughter sleeps with knives and has entered into relationships with older men since the rape took place. She said her daughter has had to spend time away from family getting help with some of the psychological effects of the situation.

Defense lawyer Jeffrey Limbian reminded the court of physical limitations, such as a plate in the head of his client, and the difficulties in his client’s upbringing. He said if alcohol had not been a factor, the rape would likely not have taken place.

Judge Durkin agreed that alcohol played a factor in the situation but said it cannot be an excuse because Zechar, even in his limited capacity, should have known better. The judge did take note that Zechar’s criminal history consists only of a misdemeanor theft charge.

After the sentencing, the victim’s mother expressed concern about the number of years Zechar will be serving in prison.

“We are just working as a family to get her through this,” she said. “I feel he should have gotten more time. This makes people think you can go out and rape somebody and only get eight years. This is going to affect [my daughter] the rest of her life. I just don’t think it’s right.”

The victim told police Zechar gave her a soft drink mixed with rum and two pills he said were over-the-counter pain relievers in early May 2007.

An hour after drinking the mixture and taking the pills, she began feeling “unusual,” the victim later told police.

That evening, Zechar asked her to ride with him to a store, and she agreed, the girl told police. Instead of going to a store, Zechar drove her directly to Lake Park Cemetery, where he attacked her, and her attempts to fight him off were unsuccessful, the victim told police.

When they returned to Zechar’s residence, the girl said she began to lose consciousness and remembered nothing more until she woke up in St. Elizabeth Health Center, where she had been taken by ambulance.