CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - When defendants enter a courtroom, at times, it is difficult to believe what they have done.
That was true of many in the courtroom of Judge Wanda Jones on Tuesday, including the 12-year-old victim’s father.
“As a man, I can’t see how another man could do something like that, let alone a man who has taken an oath,” the father said.
“It is people like you that cause mankind to distrust,” a victim advocate read from a letter written by the 12-year-old girl’s mother.
Former Cleveland police officer Solomon Nhiwatiwa faced sentencing, but Judge Jones said another group had victimized the 12-year-old girl. She chastised the Euclid Police Department for what happened when the victim and her mother tried to report the crime and had to wait for hours.
“The fact that it wasn’t taken right away is quite disturbing to this court,” she said in apologizing to the family.
Judge Jones took into account that, not only did Nhiwatiwa offer the victim, a ride while she waited for her school bus, but he got in his car, drove off and returned. He then parked on a side street and walked up to her relieving himself on her head and body.
It was called one of the most humiliating acts someone could do, especially to a child.
But the child must be given credit: The only reason Nhiwatiwa isn’t facing rape or even more serious charges is the victim herself.
“It’s been said we’re not here because she was raped. She wasn’t kidnapped because she did everything she was supposed to do, not because this defendant did everything he was supposed to do," Assistant County Prosecutor Jennifer Driscoll told the court.
Nhiwatiwa offered a weak eight-word apology.
The judge asked, “Anything else?”
After 10 seconds of silence, all he could muster was, “I’d like to take responsibility, apologize for what I did.”
In sentencing the former police officer Judge Jones added, “The court is not convinced of your remorse.”
Nhiwatiwa was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in jail and also must register as a sex offender.