Tuesday, December 18, 2018 Elyria 31°

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Man gets 2 years for sex conduct with teen girl


ELYRIA — A convicted sex offender from Sheffield Lake was sentenced to two years in prison Friday after pleading guilty to gross sexual imposition for sexual conduct with a 14-year-old in 2015.

Dennis Snodgrass, 41, also will be serving time for failure to register as a sex offender.

Snodgrass said he wanted to apologize to both the victim’s family and his own for his actions, calling his actions “terrible” and saying he is taking “full responsibility” for them.

“It’s been two and a half years,” he said. “In those two and a half years, I’ve been to counseling for different things. My family has been through a tremendous battle. I had to close my business because of the stereotype. My wife had harassment at work. My 9-year-old was cyberbullied and trolled and basically ran out of cheerleading, which she loves, and robotics club.”

Snodgrass said there was nothing worse than hurting his own child because of his actions and his biggest concern was the negative impact on his daughter.

The victim’s father said he felt bad for Snodgrass’ daughter and his family, but he couldn’t be sure that Snodgrass wouldn’t do something similar again.

“As a father, this is my little girl,” he said. “I went to work and I left my 13-, 14- and 17-year-old at home when I’m at work and this man comes into my house and touches my children in a way that no man should. I blame myself. I quit my job of 20 years to stay at home ... . We’ve been sentenced ourselves with this, but we will overcome it. We’re getting stronger.”

The victim’s father said his daughter had to withdraw from high school and be home-schooled because of the incident and that he had to install security at his home because of Snodgrass.

“I have to put up blinds and cameras and make all of these adjustments and it took a lot for me not to be on the other side of the law,” he said. “It was her telling me she needed me more here than inside.”

The victim spoke at the sentencing hearing and said she wanted Snodgrass to be upset and alone when he got locked up because that’s how she felt the last two years.

“I don’t want him to see daylight,” she said. “I want him to be locked up. This person took the high school experience I could have had. I could have been going to football games and other things a teenager should be able to do like go to the movies with my boyfriend, but I couldn’t. I was too scared. He took that away from me.”

Prosecuting attorney Donna Freeman said Snodgrass has two prior convictions for drug trafficking and another of gross sexual imposition and that giving him the maximum three-year sentence would be “a gift.”

Defense attorney JD Tomlinson said Snodgrass isn’t an isolated man and he has a support system behind him as evidenced by the fact that his friends and family were in the courtroom to support him.

Common Pleas Judge James Miraldi said that support system will be important to Snodgrass as he moves forward at the Lorain Correctional Institution and when he is under post-release control for five years.

“There are a lot of reasons that his family and his support system should keep an eye on him and make sure the he gets the support and supervision that he needs so whatever tendencies he might be struggling with don’t hurt someone else like they have here today,” the judge said. “These cases are also difficult because I can’t turn time back and make something that happened go away. I wish I could. I wish I knew what the future held. When a father says to me that this man could do this again, he’s right. It could happen. I don’t know. I’m hoping it won’t.”

Snodgrass also faced a charge of rape for allegedly molesting the victim in June 2015 after an investigation by Sheffield Lake police. The rape charge was dismissed.

Contact Katie Nix at 329-7129 or knix@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @KatieHNix.

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