BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio (WTRF) Twenty-one years ago, a little girl in Martins Ferry was abducted and raped by a stranger, who offered her a teddy bear.
Now that man, identified by a DNA match, admitted his guilt, and was sentenced to prison.
Judge John Vavra told 59-year-old Stephen Vargo that he will probably never get out of prison in his lifetime.
Vargo is already serving time for another child rape.
The victim in the latest case, now 27 years old, told the court she is strong now, but pleased to see justice finally done.
Vargo, when given the chance to speak, turned to the victim and said, “I’m glad you’re doing fine. I’m sorry if I did anything to you.”
“There’s not enough punishment for what you’ve done to these young children,” Judge John Vavra said to Vargo.
The judge said he hopes that Vargo someday realizes the enormity of the harm he has done.
“He bribed me with a teddy bear,” said the woman who was raped by Vargo. “He took me down an alley and stuff happened. And then I got home and my dad jumped on the neighbor’s bicycle and tried to find the guy but he was not able to find him. But I’m just glad I was able to face him today and get closure and have peace now, more than I’ve had in a very long time.”
Now nearly 28 years old, she said she has a fiance’ and three children, and a full life.
Judge John Vavra thanked her for her courage and said that was the best news he has heard all day.
Stephen Vargo still has ten years to serve on another child rape sentence, and won’t begin serving the latest sentence until 2030.
Officials said the combined prison sentences should far exceed Vargo’s life expectancy.
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