Carter found guilty of rape in the first degree in Belmont County
ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The three-day juvenile rape trial of Greg Carter concluded Friday with the jury returning guilty verdicts on five counts of first-degree felony rape.
Carter, 53, is a resident of Lot 64, Banfield Road, St. Clairsville. The crimes were reportedly occurred from 2017-2020.
Carter was accused of preying on two juvenile girls in his care.
The jury heard testimony from forensic interviewers, the two alleged victims, and Carter took the stand to testify in his own defense.
After deliberating for about three hours, the jurors returned their verdict.
Belmont County Common Pleas Judge Frank Fregiato set Carter’s sentencing hearing for Thursday.
Carter gave no visible reaction upon hearing the verdict and being placed in restraints.
Belmont County Prosecutor Kevin Flanagan spoke later about the challenges and turning points of the case.
“The main challenge is the same challenge that we face in all child sex abuse cases, and that is that is rarely does the child or children in this case come forward immediately to divulge the information. We call that a delayed disclosure. In this case we called in an unintended disclosure,” Flanagan said.
Flanagan added the allegations came about when an adult observed odd behavior in the girls and confronted them.
One point of contention between prosecution and defense was the time period of 2017 to 2020 when the offenses were alleged to have taken place, with defense attorney Donald Tennant arguing the period was too long and had no specific dates.
“When you have child sex abuse on this level that repeatedly occurred, it is difficult if not impossible to pinpoint an actual date, and that is why the law allows us to give date ranges. If it didn’t, there would be very few child rape prosecutions. Children simply do not log the dates and times that the abuse occurs,” Flangan said. “Most of the time the disclosures come so long after the actual abuse.”
He also commended the two victims’ conduct on the stand. He said the prospect of testifying is daunting for a young person who was a young adolescent when the offenses took place.
“It is difficult for them to take the witness stand and tell of the most horrific and embarrassing events that have occurred in their life. Nonetheless, they did and the jury believed what they were saying,” Flangan said.
He said the victims would have been 7-13 and 7-11 years old during the course of offenses.
Flanagan also cross-examined Carter.
“What we wanted to point out were what we believed to be deficiencies in the defendant’s claims. That would include a lack of motive on the part of the victims to lie,” he said.
Carter is facing more than 100 years to life in prison.
“Given the repeated abuse and the age of the victims, it is our position that the defendant should never see the outside of a prison cell,” Flanagan said. “We believe that is deserved.”