Rape Survivor Makes Emotional Comments During Canterbury Trial

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The former National Guardsmen who was convicted of raping an intoxicated Ohio University student was sentenced to seven years in prison in Athens County Common Pleas Court on Thursday.

Last week, an Athens County jury found Levi Canterbury, 23, guilty of one count of rape in which he knowingly engaged in sexual conduct with a person who was “substantially impaired” at the time of the sexual contact. The jury also found Canterbury guilty of another count of rape charging him with using force when raping the woman.

Canterbury was convicted of picking the woman up in September 2011, taking her to a parking lot and forcibly raping her before dropping her off on Court Street.

The victim and her mother both gave statements during the hearing, and the victim’s psychologist told the court of the lifelong effects the rape would have on the victim.

“Words fall short when I’m trying to explain the effect this has had on me,” the woman told Judge Alan Goldsberry, adding that she has been waiting for the “ordeal” to be behind her.

She told the court she had retreated into herself and distanced her from the people around her because of what happened.

“I want to be a fly on the wall, but a fly on the wall covered in paint so no one could see me,” she said.

The incident affected her focus on school, made her doubt her abilities and “polluted my relationship with my alma mater.”

Tomorrow, “catharsis begins,” she said. When Judge Alan Goldsberry asked her if putting Canterbury in prison for the maximum sentence, 10 years, would help her heal. She said was “not exactly sure.”

The woman’s mother also spoke before the court, telling the judge how drastically her daughter had changed since the encounter with Canterbury on Route 682.

“She was really rambunctious and vivatious and joyful, always smiling and sunny,” the mother said. “Now she’s fearful, anxious everywhere, she twitches, she’s always jumpy.”

Her daughter doesn’t want to interact with people and would rather stay in her room, she said.

“She grew up in Ohio, in her world people were nice and took care of each other,” the mother said. “Now the world she lives in is a very dark and scary place.”

The psychologist that has been working with the woman since March said the effect of the rape has been a “disintegration of trust.”

“When she meets new people now she immediately goes into a self-protective mode … so self-protective that it’s unhealthy,” said Kimberly Wagner, a private psychologist in Athens.

The long-term effects of distrust will continue, and the woman will probably seek counseling throughout her life, Wagner said.

Wagner told the court she charges about $100 per hour for counseling, which the prosecution asked be included as part of restitution to be paid by Canterbury.

Canterbury declined to speak during the hearing, and prosecution said through jail phone calls he had failed to show remorse even after conviction. The prosecution played one phone call in which Canterbury is heard saying, “You didn’t hear me say I’m sorry.”

“He has not only no genuine remorse, but no remorse at all,” Athens County Assistant Prosecutor Robert Driscoll said.

Fellow prosecutor Elizabeth Pepper reiterated a phrase she’d used during the closing arguments of the trial.

“He was a predator, he is a predator who obviously felt a sense of entitlement … “ Pepper said. “There is nothing, ever, that justifies rape.”

Defense for Canterbury said the lack of a prior criminal record made a maximum sentence inappropriate.

“All rapes don’t demand a nine-year sentence, that’s why the range is two to nine,” attorney William Eachus said.

Goldsberry commented during his final ruling that changes in sentencing guidelines through the years made it difficult to decide the proper sentence sometimes. In the end, he sentenced Canterbury to serve seven years in prison with 668 days of time-served credit.

He also ordered Canterbury to pay restitution of $8,450, for towing vehicles, expediting Canterbury from Texas and the cost of the woman’s past and estimated future counseling.

Goldsberry said the fine of $10,000 would be removed if he paid the restitution within the next four years.

Canterbury was also classified as a Tier III sex offender, meaning after he is released from prison he will have to verify his address with law enforcement every 90 days.

Defense attorneys said Canterbury has not given them any indication that he planned on appealing the ruling. If he did — which he would have to do within 30 days of the sentencing being filed — he would probably file for a public defender due to indigence, according to Eachus.