BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio (WTRF) — The Seventh Appellate District upheld two of the Belmont County Prosecutor’s Office biggest trial verdicts from last year, according to Kevin Flanagan, Belmont County Prosecutor.

The appellate court declared the convictions of Michael Runnion and Greg Carter, who were both convicted in jury trials on child rape charges.

“We tried a lot of cases in 2021 including four that dealt specifically with child molestation.  The other jury verdicts had been upheld previously and now we’ve received favorable decisions in both Carter and Runnion. To have a case upheld by the court of appeals means that a reviewing set of judges agrees with the work that the prosecutor’s office had done in presenting the evidence to the jury as well as the rulings from the judge during trial.” 

Kevin Flanagan – Belmont County Prosecutor

This was a major trial victory for the prosecutor’s office last year. Flanagan continued to say that it also means that the child-victims won’t be subjected to further questioning, which will help with their healing process.

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The similarities of the Runnion and Carter cases took shape as they involved multiple victims. According to court documents, both men were in positions of trust and authority over the children at the times of the offenses, even though the assaults were separate incidents.

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Flanagan praised his team saying it was a group effort to bring the men to justice. Bringing in the Martins Ferry Police Department and the Belmont County Sheriff’s Office helped with the coordinated effort.

The Belmont County Department of Job and Family Services, and the child advocacy center known as Harmony House, along with various area hospitals all play an invaluable role. Having specialty technicians like the sex assault nurse examiners at the hospital round out a powerful team.

“I can’t stress enough the benefit of having these agencies as part of our trial team.  The way they continue to work with families who are suffering from trauma related to sexual abuse, even after a trial, is a tremendous asset that can never be taken for granted.  They are clearly on the frontlines of child advocacy, and we appreciate their contributions immensely.”

Kevin Flanagan – Belmont County Prosecutor

Both men received life sentences that were imposed by Judge Fregiato and Judge Vavra. The sentences for the guilty men, were considered the maximum penalty they could receive. These sentences will secure safety of others and ensure they will never victimize another child, stated Flanagan.