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
  • To demolish or not Tear it down? Fix it up?

    In 2007, Richard D. Givens bought a home at 831 Knobwood Drive in Hermitage for $245,000.
    Today, the city of Hermitage is seeking the demolition of the now-vacant house, arguing the damage from water infiltration makes the structure not worth saving.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from April 19, 2014

    April 19, 2014

  • Man admits having child porn

    A Mercer man accused of soliciting and downloading photographs of nude teenage girls pleaded guilty April 8 to sexual abuse of children for possessing child pornography.

    April 19, 2014

  • Police getting new tool to fight crime

    Sharon police working at crime scenes will be putting a powerful new investigative tool to work as soon as next month.

    April 19, 2014

  • Soap box derby finds new home

    The Greater Pennsylvania Super Kids soap box derby for special-needs kids is moving to Sharpsville.

    April 19, 2014

  • News briefs from April 18, 2014

    ‘Nonspecific threat’ prompts evacuation

    Supreme Court refuses to hear couple’s appeal

    Lung Association offering free radon test kits

    April 18, 2014

  • Man admits to choking; rape case is dropped

    A Greenville man on Thursday pleaded down a rape case to simple assault and continued to deny that he committed any sexual crimes.

    April 18, 2014

  • Judge issues tabletop ads injunction against couple

    A judge recently handed down an injunction prohibiting a Sharon man, his wife and two companies associated with the wife from working in the tabletop advertising business within 100 miles of Sharon.

    April 18, 2014

  • Tech waste eyed for new contact

    The current Hermitage solid waste contract was designed to increase recycling while reducing the amount of garbage placed at the curb, and it has lived up to its promise.

    April 18, 2014

  • WaterFire Rekindled

    WaterFire Sharon has chosen themes for its festivals to be held on three Saturdays in downtown Sharon. “Elements” will be the theme July 19, “Origins” for Aug. 23 and “Motion” for the Sept. 27 celebration.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from April 17, 2014

    Man arrested for running from accident scene

    UPMC, Southwest eyeing security at hospital

    Crashes cause diversion of Interstate 80 traffic

    Court supports prison term in chase case

    Woman gets 5-10 years in crash that killed officer

    April 17, 2014

  • Officials pledge support to sewer project

    Publicly declaring their intention to donate county land to the Upper Neshannock Watershed Authority, Commissioners Matt McConnell and John Lechner said there’s no need for Commissioner Brian Beader to worry about the loss of the sewer project at the Interstate 80/Route 19 interchange.

    April 17, 2014

  • Griswold Avenue fire Neighbors tried to save victim

    As flames and thick smoke poured out of a Sharon house Tuesday evening, neighbors rallied to try and save the man who lived there alone.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Woman nabbed, sister sought in assault

    Southwest Mercer County Regional police have arrested a Hermitage woman for breaking into a home in Farrell and beating a woman and are seeking the alleged assailant’s sister.

    April 16, 2014

  • Despite good deeds, man going back to prison

    Linda K. Kretzer had nothing but praise for Raymond C. McKelvey.

    April 16, 2014