Jury finds 43-year-old guilty in child rape case | News, Sports, Jobs | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

WARREN — After seven hours of deliberating, a Trumbull County jury found a Warren man guilty on nine counts of rape and one count of gross sexual imposition.

The verdict concludes several days of testimony in which Francis Lacamera, 43, of Summit Street NW, was accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old Hubbard girl over a period six months in 2020. She is now 15.

Throughout the trial, testimony was heard from the victim; her mother; a Hubbard police detective, Michael Banic, who interviewed Lacamera; and Child Advocacy Center nurse practitioner Monique Malmer, who interviewed the victim after the charges surfaced in 2021.

Trumbull County Assistant Prosecutor Gabe Wildman expressed his satisfaction at the jurors’ decision.

“I think it’s a good day for justice. It’s a good day for the victim. I think the most important thing in a case like this is that children feel safe and believed,” he said.

Following the ruling, Wildman argued for sexual predator offender specifications, believing that Lacamera was likely to offend again. Wildman called for Lacamera to be “held accountable” for the sexually motivated offense.

This drew objections from defense counsel, attorney John L. Juhasz, who reasoned with Judge Cynthia Rice that his client had been convicted only one time of sexual felonies.

Looking at the defendant’s criminal history, Juhasz made clear his client had no documented sexual deviancy in the past nor did his client commit an act of torture or ritualistic acts and the victim’s life was not in jeopardy.

Rice struck down the state’s attempt, saying that no evidence had been presented to prove sexually violent predatory specifications on all counts.

A sentencing hearing will take place July 5 in Rice’s courtroom. Wildman said Lacamera faces a minimum sentence of 25 years to life and a maximum sentence of about 118 years to life. Had he been found guilty of the specifications, it would have extended the length of his sentence before being eligible for parole.

Wildman said testimony from the victim was the single most important testimony in getting a conviction, just as in any sex case.

“It takes an incredible amount of courage and incredible amount of toughness and grit for a kid to go through what the victim went through in this case, and come in front of a bunch of strangers and testify,” Wildman said.

In addition, Wildman credited expert testimony with “confirming” and “corroborating” the victim’s story.

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