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Berea man sentenced for rape of Soviet-era labor camp survivor

Jason Farmer, 30, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for breaking into an 81-year-old woman's apartment and raping her. CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A Berea man will spend the next quarter-century in prison for the rape of an 81-year-old woman who survived a Soviet-era labor camp as a child. Jason Farmer, 30, stood and watched Thursday as the woman described the gruesome incident and how it has affected her in the twilight of her life, which included watching as a young child as Nazis kill her father and her time spent as a teenager in a Siberian labor camp.  Cuyahoga County Judge Deena Calabrese sentenced Farmer, who previously pleaded guilty to rape, kidnapping and aggravated burglary in the Feb. 11 attack. Farmer is now a Tier III sex offender, meaning he must report his address to the county sheriff every 90 days for the rest of his life once he's released from prison. "In all my years as a county prosecutor and now judge, this is one of the most brutal rapes I've ever seen," Calabrese said. The woman said during the hearing that she knew Farmer who often took walks around her neighborhood. She used to give him a $1 or $2 when he asked because she felt sorry for him. Farmer knocked on the woman's door at her Berea apartment. The woman opened the door, but refused to let him inside. He forced his way into the apartment, cutting the woman's forearm as she tried to slam the door shut. Farmer picked her up and threw her over his shoulder "like potatoes," the woman said. He carried her to her bedroom and raped her. The woman offered Farmer all her money to stop. He did, and took $7. Farmer then told the woman to not tell anyone about the incident. The woman said she was too scared to report the incident but eventually told a neighbor, who convinced her to go to the hospital. Berea police interviewed Farmer, who denied responsibility. DNA from the sexual-assault kit matched Farmer, whose DNA was in the national database because of three prior theft-related felony convictions. Police confronted him with the new evidence and he confessed. The woman said the rape left her unable to stay at her apartment and scared she'll be attacked again. She also said she's bewildered by the attacked. "I could be his great-grandmother," the woman said in broken English. "Why would you want to touch an old lady like that?" Calabrese replied: "No woman should be touched like that." The woman grew up in Slovenia until Nazis stormed into her home at about age 10, hit her father with the butt of a rifle, dragged him out of the home and shot him, according to St. Paul Lutheran Pastor Tom Henderson. He said she was given to a pig farmer, who also ran a bar. The man would allow his bar patrons to rape her in an attic above where the pigs were kept. She was then taken to a Siberian labor camp, and later to a camp in Bosnia, Henderson said. She ended up in the U.S. in 1952. She lived in the Broadway-Fleet neighborhood until gunfire became too regular for her taste. Despite being a poor widow, she moved to the apartment in Berea. "Berea was so beautiful," she said. "I could leave my windows open all the time and I didn't lock my doors sometimes. He would have to be not normal to do this." Farmer suffers from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, defense attorney Patrick DiChiro said. Farmer's IQ is estimated at 72 and has a first-grade reading ability, DiChiro said.  "I didn't mean to cause that much harm," he said during the hearing. "I want to say I'm sorry."  To comment on this story, please visit our crime and courts comments section. Read more..

Labor camp Cuyahoga County Ohio Felony Rape

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