Former northeast Ohio mayor pleads guilty to raping 4-year-old

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Former Hubbard, Ohio mayor Richard Keenan, who now admits to raping a young child, is facing life behind bars.

He was visibly shaken Friday as he changed his plea to guilty on 20 counts of sex crimes, including eight counts of rape. Keenan agreed to a life sentence with the eligibility of parole after ten years.

According to court documents, the abuse began as early as September 2013 when the victim — who Keenan knew — was just 4 years old.

“It gives the victim some closure. Obviously, keeps this young child from having to testify and I think it’s a good result given all the facts and circumstances,” said Assistant Prosecutor Gabe Wildman.

He said prosecutors have a responsibility to do what’s best for the victim and that they accomplished that Friday.

“Not bringing her in here to have to testify in the small courtroom with this man in there as well.”

Keenan’s family was emotional. They lashed out at reporters after the hearing and tried to block him from the camera’s view.

Prosecutors said this just goes to show how difficult these cases are for everyone.

“I think what we’ve seen today is that they’re tough, right? They’re tough on everyone. They’re tough on the defendant’s family, they’re tough on the victim’s family, and obviously, our concern lies with the victim’s family,” Wildman said.

Keenan remains free on bond until his sentencing. He will undergo a pre-sentencing investigation, which could take a few weeks.