Carter is sentenced to century in Belmont County
ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Greg Carter was sentenced to a century behind bars Thursday, having been convicted of five counts of first-degree felony rape of two girls in his care at the time.
Charges stemmed from allegations Carter, 53, of Lot 64 Banfield Road, St. Clairsville, committed the crimes between 2017 and 2020 in West Virginia and Martins Ferry.
The offenses were brought to light when an adult noticed the odd behavior of the two girls and confronted them.
Carter’s three-day trial began and concluded last week.
On Thursday, Belmont County Common Pleas Judge Frank Fregiato imposed life sentences for each of the offenses, with Carter not eligible for parole after 25 years for four of them. Fregiato ran the four counts consecutively for a total of 100 years.
The fifth count will be served concurrently and Carter would not be eligible for parole for 11-16 years.
The fifth offense reportedly occurred after the victim had turned 13, making the higher sentence ineligible.
Carter was designated a Tier 3 sex offender and, if ever released, would be required to report to his local sheriff’s office monthly for life.
Belmont County Prosecutor Kevin Flanagan had asked that the maximum sentence be imposed.
“We simply ask for a sentence that is commensurate with the crimes that have been committed against the two minors,” Flangan said.
Carter’s defense attorney, Donald Tennant asked for a concurrent sentence, pointed out that if such sentences were imposed, Carter would still be 78 before reaching parole eligibility. He said Carter had not previously been convicted of any felony offense.
“Consecutive sentencing is not mandatory,” Tennant said. “The punishment for the crimes convicted here is excessive, and the court should use its discretion to give the man the opportunity to see the parole board…in 25 years.”
Flanagan said the nature of the crimes and harm to the victims necessitated the maximum.
“The offenses are rape of children,” Flanagan said.
Carter did not speak or react.
“The defendant will not have a parole hearing for a century,” Fregiato said. “In Belmont County, Ohio, you care for your minor children, you do not rape them.”
“The judge took that into account how systemic this was, how historic this was, as it relates to these two child victims. That’s why the sentence was compounded,” Flanagan said afterward.
There have been several child sex abuse convictions in the past few months.
“We clearly are very aggressive when it comes to these types of cases,” Flanagan said, commending law enforcement and Harmony House child advocacy center for its investigations. “Without that aggressiveness and without the approach that we’ve put in place, we would never have had the results, especially when we look in the last few months. … It’s part of the team that we have assembled.”
He said these cases can be complicated by disclosures that often occur long after the crime.
“Without the bravery of the little ones that we are dealing with, we would never be here,” Flanagan said. “It takes them away from being a victim to finally giving them some power.”