An Ohio man was sentenced to 25 years behind bars after being convicted of the first-degree rape of a 6-year-old girl who contracted gonorrhea as a result.
Christopher Esper, 19, was arrested in 2014 after police discovered that he was the only man in contact with the victim, who had the same sexually transmitted disease.
"The defendant chose the most vulnerable of victims," prosecutor Maria Schletker stated, according to Cincinnati.com. "He chose a six-year-old child who was living at his house."
Covington Police Detective Nicholas Klaiss said Esper offered a number of theories as to how the victim contracted gonorrhea before finally confessing to having assaulted her, according to The River City News.
Notwithstanding his confession, Epser's attorney's argued during the trial that the girl had developed the STD after coming into contact with a rag that Esper had ejaculated on.
The jury needed only 40 minutes to find Esper guilty of first-degree rape. To avoid a trial and spare the young victim the stress of having to testify in court, prosecutors had offered Esper a 20-year sentence in exchange for a guilty plea.
While he initially accepted the plea deal, he withdrew it one day before he was scheduled to appear in court, choosing instead to face a jury.
The River City News reports that the victim shook as she took the stand, testifying that Esper raped her in the bathroom after the two were left alone.
"Her nerves, anxiety and fear were apparent, but despite her discomfort, she was able to testify against her rapist," Schletker wrote in her sentencing recommendation, according to Cincinnati.com.
Schletker added that the crime -- which she described as "appalling, alarming and unforgiveable" -- will affect the victim for the rest of her life.
Following the conviction, Esper's lawyers asked Kenton County Circuit Judge Gregory Bartlett to hand down the minimum sentence of 20 years since that's what the prosecuting attorneys were originally prepared to settle for.
Bartlett was unmoved, telling the defense: "The day before the trial [Esper] could have taken 20 years and spared all of us -- not the least of which is this child from taking the stand. He took his chances and he lost. You can't expect me to forget the trial and pretend it didn't happen."
The judge did say that he would take into consideration the defendant's age before sentencing him to 25 years. Esper was 18 when the crime was committed.