Troy man sentenced to life in prison

Dankworth, 60, guilty of rape of three minor victims

By Melanie Yingst -

MIAMI COUNTY — A Troy man will spend the rest of his life in prison for the sexual assault of three female children under the age of 10.

Miami County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeannine Pratt sentenced John Dankworth, 60, to serve a mandatory 30 years to life on all three counts of first-degree felony rape of a minor — one count for each victim — following a joint recommendation from the defense and state prosecutors.

Miami County Assistant Prosecutor Ryan Spitzer called Dankworth’s actions “horrendous” and said the seriousness of his actions should be reflected in the joint recommendation.

Dankworth did not comment when asked by the court if he had anything to say on his own behalf.

“I don’t know what to say,” he said.

Dankworth’s public defense attorney Stephen King said Dankworth understood the charges were “as serious as it gets” and was cooperative with the investigation as well as waived his right to a trial to spare the victims.

The mother of two of the three victims spoke in court. She told the court she and the victims trusted Dankworth who would take them to the park and get ice cream. She told Dankworth what he did to the victims was “unforgivable.” A letter from one of the victims was also received by the court.

Judge Pratt found Dankworth expressed no genuine remorse for his conduct which she said, “rises to repugnancy” since Dankworth had “the audacity to blame the children, innocent children.”

Judge Pratt said the high-end sentence was “justifiably so” for Dankworth to spend the rest of his life in prison so he wouldn’t offend again and to protect the public. Dankworth was labeled as a Tier III sex offender and granted 125 days of jail credit.

According to Capt. Jeff Kunkleman, the three victims were known to Dankworth. All three were under the age of 8 years old at the time of the alleged acts.

Troy woman refuses treatment

A Troy woman refused inpatient treatment and will appear in court at a later date for violation of community control.

Megan Jess, 32, of Troy, appeared in Miami County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday for a sentencing hearing. She entered a plea of guilty to fourth-degree felony theft on Sept. 27. The theft was reportedly from a relative last March. Judge Jeannine Pratt sentenced Jess to participate in the MonDay program as referred to her by the Miami County Recovery Council. Prior to the closing of the hearing, Jess refused to participate and told the court she wanted to go to a different treatment program. Judge Pratt told Jess she would then be in violation of her community control, which Jess stated she understood. Pratt said the court would prepare a community control violation hearing, which carries a maxiumn 18-month prison sentence.

“It’s unfortunate you made this choice,” sad Judge Pratt, noting the court was following MCRC’s recommendation. “We are just trying to help you,” before Jess was returned to jail.

New trial date set

A new trial date has been set for a Union Township man accused of rape.

Miami County Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher Gee set William Durham, 49, of Union Twp., four-day jury trial to begin at 9 a.m. Dec. 4. Durham’s trial was previously scheduled to begin Oct. 9.

Durham’s defense attorney Kevin Lennen requested the motion to dismiss or continue the jury trial in a memorandum last month.

On Tuesday, Gee stated that the court had narrowed down the documents Lennen had requested from Miami County Children’s Services related to the minor victim and Durham. Gee on Tuesday said he would issue an order to release those documents, if any were to be found related to the case.

Judge Gee also asked counsel if the state prosecutor had turned over evidence, which Miami County Assistant Prosecutor Janna Parker said she gave Lennen a flash drive of information as requested.

In November 2016, Durham was arraigned on two counts of rape, one count of sexual imposition and two counts of illegal use of a minor in sexually oriented materials.

The indictment states the charges stem from a reported sexual assault involving a minor under age 13. Durham entered a plea of not guilty to the charges.

Gee previously granted a portion of the agency’s records to be released to the defense in July. Lennen said the second request was due to evidence revealed from the first in-camera inspection, which yielded evidence pertinent to Durham’s case. The motion to release more records was filed Sept. 18 and requested for the second half of records to be released regarding the minor victim’s reports from November 2016 to the present day.

Prior to his decision, Judge Gee said he met with counsel prior to the hearing and expressed concern about the request made on Sept 18. Gee asked why Lennen waited two months to make the request due to the trial set to begin on Oct. 9. Lennen said he was reviewing records from the case and wanted the rest of the records reviewed. He stated he didn’t purposely request the records to cause a delay, but on a good faith basis.

Durham was released on his own recognizance due to health conditions. Durham appeared in court wearing a medical mask over his face. Prior reports state Durham receives kidney dialysis almost daily and seeks medical treatment. Durham remains out on his own recognizance with orders to have no contact with the victim.
Dankworth, 60, guilty of rape of three minor victims

By Melanie Yingst