An Ohio woman pleaded guilty on Thursday to raping and taking obscene photos and videos of children who attended two day-care centers where she was formerly employed. Her fiancé, a convicted sex-offender, also pleaded guilty in connection to the rapes.
According to Lorain County sheriff’s deputies, James Osborne, 37, directed his fianceé, Heather Koon, 27, to rape four children — as young as 2 years old — at ABC Kidz Child Care in Elyria in March and April 2013. Koon also took the obscene photos and videos at the same day care and at Country Day School in Amherst, Ohio, where she worked after ABC Kidz, The Chronicle-Telegram reported.
Although many of the charges carry penalties of 15 years to life in prison, the couple’s sentences could be increased to life without parole if the defendants are determined to be sexually violent predators. The Morning Journal reported that Osborne and Koon pleaded not guilty to specifications that would label them as such and opted to try the specifications in court.
If they are eventually released from prison, each would have to register as a sex offender.
|Heather Koon in Lorain County Common Pleas Court|
Several of the victims' parents have filed lawsuits against Koon and the day cares.
Koon pleaded guilty to four counts of rape, kidnapping and pandering obscenity involving a minor, three counts of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material and single counts of tampering with evidence and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.
Osborne pleaded guilty to four counts of complicity to rape, kidnapping and pandering obscenity involving a minor, and also to engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, failure to register as a sex offender and illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material.
Koon originally faced 40 separate charges in the case and Osborne faced 81 charges. Assistant County Prosecutor Tony Cillo told The Chronicle-Telegram that many of the charges were dropped because the couple wouldn’t have received more prison time by pleading to those additional counts, not because a deal had been made.
Koon and Osborne were discovered after Osborne was arrested in September 2013 at Koon’s home in Elyria. Police said Osborne, who pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography in 2010, was living with Koon instead of his Oberlin address he had given to the county.
Police discovered that Osborne, who had been banned from using the internet, was found with a laptop and a sexually explicit photo of a teen girl on an iPhone. After both were seized, the videos and images of Koon raping and abusing the children were found on the phone, which Osborne used to tell Koon what to do to the children at the day cares.