MUSKINGUM COUNTY, Ohio — The Muskingum County Prosecutor’s Office announced the sentencing of a Dresden man for sexually abusing a child.

On October 23, Gary Clapper, 59, pleaded guilty to one first-degree felony count of rape, one third-degree count of gross sexual imposition, and one fourth-degree felony count of gross sexual imposition.

Clapper was sentenced to 17-and-a-half to 22-and-a-half years in prison.

Officials say the juvenile survivor reported the abuse at school last spring, the day after Clapper abused her.

To avoid investigation, Clapper reported the child’s allegations to authorities, claiming they were false.

According to the reports, the child received immediate medical and professional attention, including a sexual assault exam and a forensic interview at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Officials say that during her interview, the emotionally distraught child described how Clapper sexually assaulted her and told authorities that Clapper told her the assault was to be their secret.

The prosecutor’s office says that because of the child’s bravery in reporting the crime immediately and her willingness to share the traumatic experience with authorities, DNA matching Clapper’s was located on the survivor. Oftentimes, DNA cannot be recovered when there is delayed reporting, but in this case, the child immediately reported the assault and received urgent attention.

Officials say the quick disclosure of the child and the evidence collected allowed for a swift and thorough investigation, which resulted in a prompt plea and sentencing without the survivor facing additional trauma that often occurs during a trial.

In addition to his prison sentence, Clapper must register as a Tier III sex offender for the rest of his life.

“In the pursuit of justice, our office’s commitment to the successful prosecution of child sexual abuse cases is second to none. However, we are always mindful of the impact these cases have on the victims,” Prosecutor Ron Welch said.

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