Belmont County Man Sentenced to Life in Prison For Rape of Child

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A Belmont County man has been sentenced to life in prison for the rape of a child.

39-year-old David Kerns learned his sentence Monday in Belmont County after his long-time victim spoke out in court.

The victim said Kerns made growing up a “living hell.”

Judge Frank Fregiato read from the victim’s statement before imposing sentence, and then the victim spoke out for herself.

A few weeks ago Kerns pleaded guilty to raping a child under the age of 10.

He had sexual relations and sexual contact with the victim from 2008 until this year.

“For eight years, you took advantage of me. I did not know any better,” said the victim. “I thought it was a good thing. You gave me candy to show me I was a good girl. After a while, I knew it was wrong. You gave me nightmares. I’d wake up crying in terror, trying to escape the monster that even at a young age I knew was you.”

She said she would have killed herself, if it had not been for her mother, who was, in her words, “the most beautiful, perfect person in my life.”

The victim said when she told Kerns to stop, he threatened to kill himself.

The judge said Kerns has a long criminal history, with page after page of prior offenses.

Kerns will be eligible for parole after 15 years, but will have to register as a Tier Three sex offender for life.

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