UPDATE: Convicted rapist sentenced to nearly three decades in prison
ATHENS, Ohio (WTAP) - Grant Sims, 25, of Chillicothe and formerly of Athens, was sentenced Wednesday in Athens County Common Pleas Court to a maximum of nearly 30 years in prison.
Sims was found guilty by a jury on two counts of rape, both first-degree felonies. During the trial, the Athens County Prosecutor Office presented evidence that Sims raped a woman in October 2018, after the two met at a bar. A second victim was raped nearly a year later. After that incident, Sims stole the victim’s credit card and later used it to purchase personal items.
A third woman also came forward to allege Sims raped her. The jury, however, did not issue a finding of guilt on that charge. The jury deliberated for four hours before returning with the verdicts.
Athens County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Liz Pepper argued for the imposed maximum sentence citing the seriousness of the offenses, and the physical and psychological harm to the victims. She also noted the lack of remorse shown by Sims and overwhelming concern for only himself in this matter.
“It’s been all about what Grant Sims wants, not about anything else, Grant Sims doesn’t think about what he’s done to these women. He doesn’t care. He isn’t remorseful. He only thinks about himself,” said Pepper.
The victims in the case both addressed Sims and the court. The first said, “No means no. You know what you did. All you do is lie to people … You lie so much that you’ve convinced yourself you’ve done nothing wrong. You had no idea who I was at all, but you were so sick and twisted that all you cared about was yourself. I used to be trusting of everyone but not anymore,” she concluded.
The other victim was adamant that Sims’ actions would not destroy her. Despite struggling with depression and anxiety, and feeling uncomfortable staying on her own, she said, “I want it to be clear that you did not ruin my life. I’m still growing from this and learning how to deal with everything that happened, but you did not ruin my life. I don’t want you to have that satisfaction.”
The defense defended a lack of remorse by stating that Sims maintains his innocence and would appeal.
“I want to let the Court know and everybody in here know that I am innocent of these charges I’m being sentenced with today. I’m not capable of these things. No matter what I’m sentenced to today, there’s nothing that nobody can do to take away the joy that God has given me,” said Sims.
Judge Patrick Lang sentenced Sims to 11 years in prison on each count of rape to run consecutive to each other. The Reagan Tokes Act requires the option of an additional five and a half years to be added to the sentence in this case. Lang also sentenced Sims on previous pleas of guilty on related charges of theft and identity fraud to 12 months each.
Those sentences run concurrent to each other and consecutive to the rape sentences for a total maximum sentence of 23 and a half years to 29 years in prison. Sims must register as a Tier III sex offender and is subject to five years of mandatory post-release control.
“I’m proud that justice has been served in this case and I commend the brave women in this case for stepping forward and showing the courage to confront their attacker,” said Pepper.
“Athens County and I are fortunate to have Liz Pepper and (Assistant Prosecutor) Glenn Jones handle sexual assault cases. The nature of these incidents inherently makes them difficult on all concerned parties but their dedication to protect the public resulted in this outcome. Grant Sims traumatized these women, but their bravery allowed for justice in this case,” said Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn.
After four days of trial and four hours of jury deliberation, Grant Sims was found guilty by an Athens County jury of two counts of rape.
Sims was indicted in Athens County Common Pleas Court in February 2020 for four counts of rape, as well as theft and identity fraud. He previously pleaded guilty to the latter two charges.
The first count of rape was on Oct. 25, 2018, to a woman whom Sims met at a bar with the rape happening in a car in Sims’ driveway. The second count of rape was alleged to have taken place on May 25, 2019, to a woman at a residence in Athens. The woman said she and Sims kissed but when she wanted to leave, he made excuses to keep her there and the acts later turned sexual.
The third and fourth counts involved the same victim on Sept. 19, 2019. The third count charged that Sims purposely compelled the woman to submit while the fourth count charged that the victim was unable to consent due to intoxication.
After the rape, Sims stole the victim’s credit card and later used it to purchase personal items. The jury found Sims guilty of the first and fourth counts and returned a verdict of not guilty on counts two and three.
Sims’ trial began Tuesday with jury selection. The Athens County Prosecutor’s Office presented the State’s case throughout the week with testimony from the three college-aged woman, medical professionals and law enforcement officials.
The prosecution presented facts that Sims lied to law enforcement about the incidents and/or lied about his recounts of the details on the witness stand. Closing arguments took place Friday morning and concluded around 11 a.m. for jury deliberations.
The verdict was returned shortly before 3 p.m. Judge Patrick Lang thanked the jury for their service. He ordered Sims be taken into custody and held without bond pending a sentencing date that will be scheduled within the coming weeks.
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