JEFFERSON — A man who raped a woman in the 1990s when she was a young girl was sentenced Tuesday to decades in prison.
Robert Fast, 56, of Dwight Avenue, Ashtabula, formerly of Jefferson, was sentenced by Judge Thomas Harris to 10 to 25 years in prison on each of his four counts of rape, according to assistant county prosecutor Cecilia Cooper.
Fast was also ordered to pay court costs and he has to register as a sexually-oriented offender if he is released from prison. However, Cooper said it will be a long time before Fast is eligible for parole.
“He’s got to serve 40 years before he can even be considered for parole,” Cooper said.
The charges stem from several incidents dating from March 1990, when the victim was 9 years old and Fast was 30, to May 2000, when she was was 20, according to the indictment.
The victim came forward to her mother and family members in 2017, about 28 years after the rapes.
In Ohio the statute of limitations in rape cases is currently 25 years from the time a victim turns 18 in cases where the victim was a juvenile.
Fast had originally faced eight counts of rape.
His case first went to trial in May, but one count was dismissed and a jury found him not guilty on three of the counts, Cooper said.
A hung jury was declared at that time and prosecutors were allowed to try the four counts which the jury had been unable to reach a verdict on.
The victim’s mother previously reported that Fast had convinced the victim that no one would believe her if she told, that he had the power to take away her mother and sister and as she got older, she suppressed what happened.
Cooper said although there was no DNA evidence or corroborating witnesses, the victim was able to go into great detail about the rapes and where they occurred.
The victim was able to describe Fast’s apartment in very specific detail although he claimed she had never been there, Cooper said.
The fourth rape occurred at a pool in Roaming Shores and the victim was able to describe in detail what Fast was wearing and he confirmed details about his clothing, Cooper said.
Fast’s victim was present during the sentencing, Cooper said, and Harris read her impact statement for the record.
The sexual assault was not only physical but mental, the victim wrote, and it occurred at the hands of a man she idolized as a child.
The victim wrote that after years of managing her life and surviving without living she took a leap of faith in the justice system. With the help of police, victim advocates and the prosecutor’s office, the victim wrote, she continued on with the process.
“I started out as a victim of sexual assault by Robert,” she wrote.
“Now I am a survivor and taking the steps to be a thriver.”
Fast, who worked for Kottler Metal Products since 1999, had his employer provide a statement on his behalf.
The employer described Fast as an “exemplary employee” and that he wished he had a dozen “Mr. Fasts” to work for his company.