Man gets probation for abducting girl
A Columbus firefighter escaped a prison sentence, but not the wrath of the parents of the young woman he was accused of raping as a child.
Timothy Durbin, 53, was sentenced to five years of community control, a form of probation, in Delaware County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday, after having pleaded guilty in September to a charge of abduction.
That plea agreement prevented a second trial, the first having ended in a deadlocked jury. It also allowed him to escape possible convictions on charges of rape, gross sexual imposition and kidnapping.
But just hours before his sentencing, Durbin had filed a motion to withdraw his plea, explaining that he might have been under duress when he entered it. Retired Montgomery County Appeals Court Judge James A. Brogan denied that motion, saying the victim and her family had been through enough of an ordeal.
“This man has hurt my daughter in the most destructive way,” the victim’s father told Brogan. “Help me to heal my daughter. ... Your decision can tell (her) that she is worth fighting for.”
The Dispatch typically does not identify victims of sexual assault.
Although Durbin’s Alford plea didn’t require him to admit criminal conduct, he conceded that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him.
Still, he maintained his innocence: “I don’t like taking a plea when I’m 100 percent innocent. But that’s where I find myself,” Durbin told Brogan.
Durbin faces up to three years in prison if he violates his probation. He also must pay $1,250 for the previous jury costs and a $1,000 fine.
Both sides had agreed that Durbin be given community control instead of jail time.
But the woman’s mother asked Brogan, “Her movements were restricted. Why shouldn’t his be?”
Brogan said punishment was limited to the lesser charge of abduction, and he noted that Durbin had no previous criminal history.
Durbin was accused of assaulting the girl between July 1, 2003, and July 31, 2004, after her father hired him to build an addition to their Westerville home.
Durbin’s attorney, Greg Meyers, was prepared to argue that the girl’s account was related to false memories planted by years of therapy.
Durbin, a firefighter for more than 20 years, has been assigned to the Fire Alarm Office, doing research and gathering data, according to the Fire Division. His annual pay is $77,000.