LISBON - A Beloit man received the maximum sentence of five years in prison for engaging in sexual conduct with an underage female relative.
Bryan C. Paugh, 36, of Heritage Drive, was sentenced this week in Columbiana County Pleas Court after previously pleading guilty as charged to sexual battery, a third-degree felony. He received mandatory credit for 110 days spent in the county jail and must register as a sex offender.
Paugh admitted in engaging in sexual conduct with the 14-year-old girl in his basement on Aug. 23. During his sentencing hearing, Paugh apologized to the victim, who was not present, and his family, friends and the court.
"I am ashamed of what happened and for the rest of my life that will not go away," he said.
Judge Scott Washam said while he believed Paugh was truly remorseful, that cannot make up for what happened or diminish the lasting impact it will have on the girl's life.
Prior to sentencing, Jason Conkle, Paugh's friend since childhood, testified this was out of character for his longtime friend and believed some of the accusations were a "fabrication."
While Conkle believes his friend should spend some time incarcerated, he said a five-year sentence was excessive. "I just ask the court to consider that Bryan is not a monster," he said.
Paula Beverly, an investigator with Children Services, handled the case and spent hours with the victim in different settings, and she said she felt helpless when the girl began to cry one day while they were eating lunch at the Denny's in Boardman.
"It just isn't a mistake that he needs counseling for," Beverly told Washam. "He ruined her life. I told her I can't fix this for you, but I told her I can get her in counseling."