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Man gets 20 to life for rape of child

LISBON — A 27-year-old East Palestine man could spend his life in prison after pleading guilty to rape and gross sexual imposition involving a young girl.

Kasey L. Helisek, East Clark Street, requested immediate sentencing following guilty pleas in Common Pleas Court on Friday afternoon.

Helisek declined to give a statement and Judge Megan Bickerton pointed out that maybe it was better he did not make a statement because maybe there is nothing he could say about what he did.

Bickerton called what happened the worst offense someone can do and talked about the level of harm that can be caused to a child as he subjected her to things she should have never known about.

“Mr. Helisek, I’m going to tell you right now, you are a monster,” Bickerton said. “What you did is what qualifies as that in my book. What you did, there is no excuse. You are a registered sex offender that her mother let into her house.”

Assistant County Prosecutor Tammie Riley Jones said the offenses began when the girl was only in kindergarten after Helisek came into their lives and began to sexually assault the girl only three weeks later. The offenses went on for about two years before the girl outwardly showed signs of the abuse and talked to her school principal about what was happening to her.

Investigators got a search warrant and Jones said they found items the girl had referred to including the underwear in his dresser drawer he had her wear and pornography he reportedly had shared with her.

Sadly, Jones said, the girl’s mother would not support her despite the evidence found that backed her up and she is currently living with a grandmother. Both the child and the grandmother attended Friday’s plea and sentencing hearing. Jones said the victims were in agreement with the plea agreement.

Defense attorney Paul Conn also asked Bickerton to follow the state’s recommendation of 15 years to life on the rape charge with an additional five years for the gross sexual imposition charge.

“Anything less than life is not enough for this court,” Bickerton said. “You should never have the opportunity to put your hands on anybody again.”

Bickerton went with the 20 years to life recommendation. He will not be eligible for parole until after serving the 20-year sentence. Helisek could have received life in prison without a chance at parole.

Helisek will further be required to register as a Tier III sexual offender, ordered to verify his address every 90 days for the rest of his life should he ever be released from prison. However, Helisek was already a registered sex offender when this occurred and Bickerton noted the system failed this child.

Helisek was ordered to remain at the county jail until March 4, when he is scheduled to appear before Judge Scott Washam for probation violation hearings in two cases where he was convicted of failure to register his address with the sheriff’s department due to being a registered sex offender.

Following the hearing, Jones and Assistant County Prosecutor Steven Yacovone talked about the investigative work of East Palestine Detective Dan Haueter, Tina Deal-Hendon with Children Services and Jen Tedrow of the county prosecutor’s office. Jones said the case against Helisek was outstanding and it led to the plea agreement.

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