Sexton leaves 56 year sentence in tact

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By Susan Sharp


Larry Rathbone’s case has been through just about every legal channel and back. And it has gotten him nowhere. A Campbell County jury convicted Rathbone for sexually abusing his son on multiple occasions. These multiple convictions netted the offender a 56 year prison sentence. When his case went to the state court of criminal appeals, the justices sent it back to Criminal Court Judge Shayne Sexton.

Last week, defense attorney Robert Scott and Scarlet Ellis, assistant district attorney general argued the points of Rathbone’s sentencing again.

Ellis said the victim’s age, nine years old at the time of the assaults, coupled with his diabetes made him “particularly vulnerable” to the acts committed by Rathbone and his then girlfriend. She went on to argue that Rathbone had abused not only his son, but also the trust that is often found between parents and their children. He abused a “position of trust,” she said. The “totality of what happened to him (the victim)” had to be considered, Ellis said.

Continuing to make her case for the original sentence to stand Ellis said Rathbone abused his son in three different ways before being caught.

But Scott attempted to counter her arguments. The medical condition didn’t make the child vulnerable thus it wasn’t an aggravating factor, he said. While Scott conceded the state appeals court termed Rathbone’s acts reprehensible, he added that a concurrent sentence, not a consecutive was more fitting.

 Taking the matter under advisement, Sexton issued a new ruling in Rathbone’s case late last week.

However, for Rathbone, all of his efforts were in vain.

Sexton stood by his original sentencing in the case again giving the convicted sex offender 56 years behind bars. In his ruling, Sexton said he had revisited the transcripts of the trial and the sentencing hearing as well as the opinion from the appeals court. However, 56 years was still the appropriate punishment for Rathbone. The judge noted the “substantial mental and emotional damage” the victim had suffered at the hands of his father in his ruling. Sexton said there was “ample support” for consecutive sentencing in this case.

Rathbone will serve the time for two counts rape of a child, criminal attempt to commit rape of a child and aggravated sexual battery.

He has maintained innocence in the case claiming the allegations came from a vindictive ex- spouse who made threats against the couple’s son if he didn’t go along with the charges.