JEFFERSON - - Convicted rapist Wayne Ferguson, 49, of Ashtabula continued to deny his guilt Thursday as Common Pleas Judge Alfred Mackey sentenced him to 10 years in prison.

Mackey designated the defendant as a sexually oriented offender.

Mackey also ordered Ferguson to be under post release control for five years and report to the Ohio Adult Parole Authority when released from prison. The judge warned Ferguson about adhering to PRC rules or face a longer prison term.

He also ordered Ferguson to undergo examination for sexually transmitted diseases. Mackey said this should have been done earlier after being convicted in January.

Ferguson's defense lawyer, David PerDue told the judge before sentencing, "We respect the jury decision, but disagree with the verdict."

PerDue requested Mackey impose a minimum three-year prison term on the rape and sexual battery convictions for his client. Garrett insisted asking for a 10-year prison term.

"The public will be safer and justice will be served if he (Ferguson) is determined as a sexual predator," she stated.

Before being sentenced, Ferguson stood up, saying, "I would like to say this occurred nine years ago. I talked to the police and went home. I've alway been a man and never run from the law."

Mackey also appointed attorney Patricia Smith as appellate defense counsel at PerDue's request. PerDue said he intends to appeal the jury conviction.

During Thursday's hour-long hearing, Garrett called Dr. Jeff Rinsberg, a forensic psychologist with the Northeast Ohio Forensic Psychiatric Center, to testify.

Rinsberg placed Ferguson in a "low to moderate" risk factor class as a sexual offender. He also told the judge that Ferguson did not tell him truthfully about prior arrests or being a substance abuser (drugs and alcohol). Ferguson's criminal history includes 21 charges including burglary and drug related offenses, according to the assistant prosecutor.

Rinsberg said he was supplied the information by the county prosecutor when Ferguson did not divulge the information when interviewed.

Also testifying was the 28-year-old victim, who once again faced her attacker since his trial. She was 19 years-old when the rape incident occurred in Ashtabula city.

Ashtabula police detectives resurrected last year two separate unsolved rape cases with Ferguson as the prime suspect. He was later indicted on both rape cases, but acquitted of one during a jury trial in November 2006..

Holding back tears, the rape victim said for nine years she has relived the attack. "I'm 28 now. It's affected me emotionally today and everyday," she said.

She continued to speak of being overly protective of her three daughters, especially being around strangers or men. "I'm fearful of men," she added.

As the victim watched Ferguson hustled out of the courtroom by two sheriff's deputies, she said, "I suffered for 10 years, now he can suffer for 10 years. It's finally over."

- - DORIS COOK - Staff Writer

Star Beacon Print Edition: 6/16/2007

Click here to order our 6/16/2007 Archive edition.

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