YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Judge R. Scott Krichbaum Tuesday told a woman he was sentencing on a child endangering charge that he hoped she has a mirror in the cell she is expected to live in for the next year.
Krichbaum told Alexandria Overholser, 28, of Beloit, just before he sentenced her to a year in prison that she needs to look in a mirror every day during her sentence to remind herself that she is responsible for the rape of a young child.
“I hope they have a mirror in your cell and you look at it every day and you need to understand it was your fault this little girl was raped,” Judge Krichbaum said.
Overholser was sentenced to a year in prison on a third-degree felony charge of child endangering. Prosecutors said she ignored warnings from the Adult Parole Authority that her boyfriend, Shawn Unger, 35, who was released from prison for raping a child, should not be around a child she was caring for.
Overholser, however, ignored the warnings and the child, a 5-year-old girl, was raped for a year by Unger. Unger pleaded guilty to a felony charge of rape August 27 and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 10 years.
Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer McLaughlin told the judge that Overholser did not know of the rapes, but because she ignored the warnings from APA, she placed the child in danger. Because of that, she did deserve some prison time, McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin said because Overholser did not know of the rapes, she could not be charged with complicity, which carries a far greater sentence. The third-degree felony charge she pleaded guilty to has a maximum sentence of three years.
McLaughlin said she agreed to the sentence because Overholser agreed to testify against Unger if her testimony was needed.
The guardian of the child told the judge that the child is still very attached to Overholser and blames herself for what happened. The guardian said that he believes the root cause of Overholser’s actions is a substance abuse problem that began before Unger was released from prison, when she began abusing drugs and alcohol.
The guardian said without treating the substance abuse issues Overholser has, the court is ignoring the root cause of her behavior, which is not good for the child or Overholser.
Whatever sentence the judge handed down would affect not just Overholser but the child, the guardian said. The guardian asked that Overholser be granted judicial release with the caveat that she undergo substance abuse counseling and treatment.
“The hammer of the judicial system could be enough” for her to complete treatment, the guardian said.
Overholser said she was very sorry for what happened and that as soon as she found out about the abuse, she reported it. Overholser said that she was in the throes of a drug and alcohol addiction when she reconnected with Unger, with whom she had a previous relationship. In tears, she said she regrets not listening when APA agents told her to keep Unger away from the child.
“I was naïve and I was stupid,” Overholser said. “I should have seen the signs.”
Judge Krichbaum said drugs and alcohol are no excuse for what Overholser allowed to happen because she was thinking of herself instead of the child.
“Because you love or drugs or alcohol, or more so, yourself, instead of[the victim], she ended up being the victim of the worst crime that can happen to a female,” Judge Krichbaum said.