NEWARK — More than seven years after former associate pastor Lonny “Joe” Aleshire was arrested for sexually assaulting two girls, one testified in court for the first time about what happened.
The woman, now 22, described how her interaction with Aleshire, now 41, evolved from baby-sitting his children to having sex with him when she was 13 years old.
“I thought that he loved me and that I was so special,” she said. “Now, I’m made out to be a liar.”
The woman and her sister, who also was sexually assaulted by the former associate pastor of Licking Baptist Church in Hebron, filed a lawsuit in 2010, which culminated in a civil trial that started Tuesday.
Their attorney, Beverly Farlow, said Aleshire was liable for the harm he inflicted on the girls through his actions and the ridicule they received from his supporters.
“He is guilty in criminal court, and we are asking you to find him guilty in here, as well,” she said.
Aleshire’s attorney, Al Mokhtari, said his client was well-respected before he was accused of having a sexual relationship with the girls, and no one witnessed the incidents.
In November 2005, the two girls held hands with their relatives as they watched Aleshire be sentenced to seven years in prison after he pleaded guilty to six counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, three counts of sexual imposition and one count of rape.
Since 2005, Aleshire has filed multiple appeals, saying he thought he would be sentenced to three years in prison for his guilty pleas.
Aleshire’s goal in taking the plea deal was to get back to his children as soon as possible, Mokhtari said.
In 2011, Aleshire was indicted on three counts of perjury for pleading guilty under oath, then saying he was innocent in sworn statements. He admitted to committing perjury this past week and will be sentenced Wednesday.
The civil trial will continue today as well. The women and their parents seek compensation for the damage Aleshire imposed, Farlow said.