The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

June 22, 2013

‘Worst nightmare’ gets 10 to 40 years in prison

DELAWARE TOWNSHIP — Jonathan M. Root was sentenced Friday to serve 10 to 40 years for raping a preschool boy, but a judge told him that, unless he comes clean, he can expect to serve all 40.

“You, sir are the community’s worst nightmare,” Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert G. Yeatts told Root, 28, formerly of Delaware Township.

When first questioned by state police, Root denied the boy’s story that Root performed sex acts on him and forced the boy to perform sex acts on Root, the judge said.

Then, Root admitted one instance, Yeatts said.

When interviewed for his presentence report, Root told the investigator he had blackouts and does not remember molesting the boy, Yeatts said, adding that Root never told police about blackouts.

Yeatts said he watched the video of the forensic interview with the child, now 6, and found him to be funny, smart and totally truthful.

“All I can say is I’m sorry,” said Root. “I can’t get into a time machine and go back in time because there ain’t one. If I could go back, I would.”

Then, Root lashed out at people who wouldn’t give him credit for the good things he had done in life, like being the first in his family to graduate from high school, and helping people.

He also said that he tried to get help but was turned away, claiming a local hospital told him there was nothing wrong with him when he told medical personnel he had tried to commit suicide.

Yeatts responded that Root had the benefit of five psychiatric commitments to hospitals, ongoing mental health treatment, juvenile detention and probation and parole supervisions, much of which appears to have failed.

“You seem to be immune to rehabilitation,” Yeatts said.

He also knew the harm he could cause to the boy because Root was a victim of sexual abuse when he was a child, Yeatts said.

“You knew your conduct was wrong but you did it anyway,” Yeatts said. “You’re a victim yourself, you know what impact that had on you, and you did it anyway.”

In his victim impact statement, the boy reported being mad and scared, and called Root “big meany Johnny.”

“He’s a beautiful little boy,” the child’s father said. “He’s got a life sentence. I just want him to have a normal life.”

“As far as I’m concerned, this monster, Jonathan Root, should be sentenced to the maximum allowed by law,” said the victim’s great aunt, who called rape the “murder of a child’s soul.”

Root pleaded guilty to rape of a child. The conviction was Root’s third for sex offenses.

At age 12, he was adjudicated delinquent on a charge of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse for coercing a 7-year-old boy to perform oral sex on him in exchange for a skateboard, said Molly M. Wagner, a member of the Sexual Offenders Assessment Board.

He pleaded guilty at age 19 to a charge of indecent assault for his actions with two 13-year-old girls, a crime he said Friday he did not commit.

Root, a father of two children, had nonsexual convictions on his juvenile and adult records, including charges of theft and receiving stolen property.

Yeatts deemed Root a sexually violent predator, making him subject to more stringent counseling and reporting requirements under Megan’s Law.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Couple, another man charged in thefts

    Pennsylvania State Police have filed charges of burglary, theft, receiving stolen property and criminal mischief against an East Palestine, Ohio, couple and another man in connection with two robberies in rural Mercer County.

    July 22, 2014

  • Taking stock Where’s the beef? Bull’s still missing

    Is it possible that an alien abduction took place in the Mercer area last week? A solid red, 2-year-old Watusi bull with 3-foot-long horns has been missing since July 14 with no trace of its existence left on earth.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Buhl Day honorees

    The Buhl Day committee has chosen for this year’s celebration five honored guests whose volunteer work they feel best showcases the legacy of philanthropic work left behind by Frank and Julia Buhl a century ago.

    July 22, 2014

  • GC pair not hurt in accident injuring 2

    Two drivers were taken to a hospital after an accident at the intersection of state routes 965 and 173 in Worth Township, police said.

    July 21, 2014

  • WaterFire crowds WaterFire doused

    Sharon’s WaterFire wasn’t lacking either of its elements on Saturday. There was steady, day-long rain but the day concluded with the Shenango River ablaze.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘Starved’ boy released from hospital

    A 7-year-old boy allegedly starved and beaten by his mother is out of the hospital and ordered out of his Greenville home by Mercer County Common Pleas President Judge Thomas R. Dobson.

    July 20, 2014

  • WaterFire walking tour Time traveling

    A group of more 50 people walked between the raindrops Saturday during an historical tour of downtown Sharon during the city’s WaterFire celebration.

    July 20, 2014 6 Photos 1 Story

  • News briefs from July 19, 2014

    Michigan man charged with assaulting girl here

    Sharon man charged with raping woman

    July 19, 2014

  • For sale Realty transfer tax hike headed for ballot

    Sharon voters will be deciding through a referendum whether city council can raise the realty transfer tax. Council gave first reading Thursday to an ordinance that phrases the question that will be printed on the November ballot.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bella recovering Vet: Dog lucky to be alive, should survive

    Although a veterinarian said an underweight dog found Thursday with a gruesome neck wound was lucky to be alive, her prognosis for recovery is good.

    July 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Alleged hit-run driver arrested

    Sharon police said Friday afternoon they had arrested a man believed to have driven a vehicle that struck an 11-year-old boy Thursday and left the scene.

    July 19, 2014

  • Boy ‘was being starved’

    A 7-year-old Greenville boy described as looking like a human skeleton had been starved and beaten by his mother for a year, authorities are saying.

    July 19, 2014

  • Corruption case puts ex-youth leader in rehab program

    The former commander of the local Civil Air Patrol squadron has been admitted into a diversionary program to resolve a criminal case, but the conditions of the program all but forbid his involvement with CAP, his attorney said.

    July 18, 2014

  • GACT’s ‘Steel Magnolias’ opens tonight at Thiel

    Beauty parlor gossip, southern drawls and big hair may sound out of place for Mercer County, but it’s very much a real scene in Thiel College’s William Robinson Theater.

    July 18, 2014

  • Police seek hit-and-run driver who struck boy

    A boy riding a Mongoose bike on Second Avenue in Sharon Thursday evening was struck straight on by a truck whose driver never hit the brakes or looked back, witnesses said.

    July 18, 2014