A Weston man is going to prison for sexually oriented offenses.
Joseph Periat, 50, appeared Tuesday in the courtroom of Wood County Common Pleas Court Molly Mack.
He pleaded guilty in August to one count gross sexual imposition, a third-degree felony, and three counts pandering obscenity involving a minor or impaired person, all second-degree felonies.
Periat was accused of creating, reproducing or publishing obscene material that had a minor as one of its participants or portrayed observers. For the GSI charge, he was accused of having sexual contact with an 11-year-old between Jan. 7 and Jan. 8.
As Tuesday’s sentencing hearing began, Mack warned against any outbursts from the audience of nearly a dozen.
“My daughter is a hero,” said the victim’s mother. “Because of her, no other kids will go through the hell that you put her through.”
She said her daughter had asked to stay at a friend’s house overnight on Jan. 7. She said yes, but to this day wished she had given a different answer.
“Because of a brave little girl, this stops today,” the mother said.
“For a man who claims to be Catholic, you’ve done some really messed up stuff,” she said to Periat while reading comments prepared by the victim.
The mother also read social media posts by the defendant claiming his innocence of the false charges against him and asking for prayers.
DNA evidence does not lie, she said.
These cases are never easy to deal with, said defense attorney Justin Daler.
“He admits to the disgusting nature of what he did,” he said about his client.
Wood County Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Gross said the victim and the mother reported on Jan. 8 what happened. The victim told police she had spent the night at a friend’s house and they were playing when she hurt her back.
Periat told her he was an EMT and could make her back feel better, Gross said.
He started massaging her back, “but that’s not where it stopped,” she said.
He put his hands down her pants and up under her shirt, Gross said.
The Bureau of Criminal Investigation tested a swab taken from inside the victim’s underwear and detected male DNA. It was further tested and it was a match to Periat, Gross said.
The victim told police there was a possible camera in the living room where Periat had touched her. A search warrant for Periat’s electronics was conducted Jan. 11 and thousands of prepubescent child pornography images were discovered.
“Not only were these images downloaded off of the internet and saved on a device, (police) were able to follow the images and see they had been moved around … transferred from device to device,” Gross said.
These types of photos cause “victimization in perpetuity. These images are not retrievable … and demand for child pornography by people like the defendant keeps that supply going,” she said.
Gross asked for a sentence of 20 years.
“I totally regret everything that has transpired. I wish none of it had ever happened and I can assure you nothing of the sort will ever happen again,” Periat said.
Mack sentenced him to a minimum of 10.5 years and a maximum of 13.5 years. Periat will be placed on a mandatory five-year post release control upon his release.
He must register as a Tier II sex offender/child offender, which will require him to register every 180 days for 25 years.
Seven charges of pandering were dismissed.