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Convicted child rapist denied parole

WARREN — A Trumbull County inmate serving a 10-years-to-life sentence for the 1996 rape of a female juvenile has lost his bid for parole.

The Adult Parole Authority voted 10-0 after a full board parole hearing last week for Ronald Harris, who is being held at Marion Correctional Institution.

Trumbull County assistant Prosecutor Diane Barber testified against Harris’ potential release, while two of Harris’ siblings and a state public defender argued in favor of the inmate’s freedom.

The parole board said Harris would next be eligible for parole on June 1, 2026.

Barber, who said she was pleased with the results of the hearing, also had penned a letter to Alice Handwerk, chairwoman of the parole board, in January urging the board to keep Harris in prison.

“I feel strongly that Harris should continue to serve out the balance of his sentence and I urge the Parole Board to deny him parole now and in the future,” Barber wrote.

Harris was sentenced on June 9, 1996, after being convicted by a Trumbull County jury on charges of rape and felonious sexual penetration.

Barber wrote Harris began abusing his stepdaughter when she was 8 years old. Five years later, the victim disclosed the abuse to a friend and the friend’s mother notified police and Trumbull County Children Services.

Although he was charged with only two counts, Barber wrote the victim described to the authorities many instances of molestation over a five-year period.

In making its decision, the parole board considered statements from the victim and witness; a report from Dr. Madeleine Ortiz documenting her exam of the victim, noting the physical evidence of sexual abuse; and documents of the court action, including the court of appeals ruling that denied Harris’ claims.

If he is ever released, Harris would be required to register as a sexually oriented offender for the rest of his life.

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