Victim: 'I don't want it to happen to anyone else'

Cary Ashby • Mar 6, 2014 at 11:07 PM

The assault victim had to collect herself for a few moments before she spoke to the court Wednesday.

The woman said the June 15 incident has affected every personal and work relationship she has.

"What happened that night ... is something that changed my life forever," she said.

"I've been to counseling. I've had to relocate," said the victim who has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, depression and anxiety.

The mother of two daughters, who are 14 and 18, said she can't imagine them going to dinner with her best friend like she did and being sexually assaulted.

"I don't want it to happen to anyone else," the victim said. "I don't want to run into him ever again."

In mid-August, a Huron County grand jury indicted the defendant, David Barnum, 38, of 218 Park St., Willard, on rape. The first-degree felony is punishable by three to 11 years in prison. Then in mid-January, Barnum pleaded guilty to an amended fourth-degree felony of aggravated assault.

Barnum was sentenced Wednesday to 17 months in prison -- one month short of the maximum.

"The defendant got carried away and took advantage of someone," said Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler, whose office had a lengthy discussion with the victim before Barnum's plea.

Leffler said it's possible for any man to get the wrong message when interacting with a woman, but he said he can't imagine first meeting someone and then sexually assaulting someone as Barnum did.

"I'm sure he feels bad about it," Leffler added. "He's had some felonies, so some prison time would be appropriate."

The June 15 assault happened at the restaurant and lounge in Holiday Lakes in Willard when both subjects had been drinking and socializing. Barnum was an employee there, but later worked at a different location with the same name.

Defense attorney John McMahon said a friend of the victim went looking for her when she realized the woman was missing and found Barnum and the victim "doing their business" in a quiet place in the establishment.

"There was no screaming; there was no struggling," McMahon said, referring to the victim.

Barnum's attorney accused the woman of making similar allegations to the Willard Police Department in 2007. He said the victim provided language in that complaint "that was almost verbatim" to what she told the Huron County Sheriff's Office in this case.

Deputies arrested Barnum soon after the assault.

"If I could take that night back, I would. ... I think about it every night," Barnum said Wednesday, referring to the assault. "I sincerely apologize to her."

Barnum spent 84 days in the Huron County Jail. He had been on an electronically-monitored ankle monitor since his Jan. 17 plea hearing.

Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway, before announcing the prison sentence Wednesday, said Barnum earlier had been charged with or convicted of two assaults, receiving stolen property, theft, domestic menacing and domestic violence.

"Those past acts give credibility to what the victim said happened," Conway said.

The judge ruled Barnum's remorse wasn't genuine. Conway said he believes the defendant's problems are as much about substance abuse as anything else and noted that undergoing sex offender treatment in prison would be appropriate.

Conway said Barnum "got the benefit of the (plea) bargain" and said he would consider releasing him early from prison into a community-based corrections facility -- but only after Barnum had served a "significant portion" of his 17-month prison term. Defendants spend four to six months in a CBCF, a form of prison which focuses on substance abuse treatment and education.

Barnum, who earlier had successfully completed parole, will be on three years of post-release control.

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