A Cuyahoga County man admitted to raping a 12-year-old female relative and was sentenced to 10 years in prison Thursday.
On July 1, Thomas J. O'Donnell Sr. sexually abused the girl while she was riding with him during various tow truck jobs in Erie County, Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler said. The prosecutor said the "initial touching" led to sexual conduct that lasted through July 22 in Huron County.
"It was utterly shocking. I've known him for seven years," the victim's mother told the court. "He's the last person I thought would harm a child."
The woman said O'Donnell, who hung his head while she spoke, "destroyed my child's innocence."
During Thursday's hearing, O'Donnell, 40, of Eastlake, was labeled a sexual predator.
In a plea deal, the state agreed to dismiss the balance of the defendant's early August indictment two counts each of rape and three charges of gross sexual imposition.
The girl's mother said she spoke to O'Donnell earlier about inappropriate relationships after he had sex with another female relative.
"I don't understand what goes on in someone's mind who does that," the woman said. "At least for the next 10 years, kids will be safe. I don't think people like that will change."