Mexico man convicted for rape, child molestation
AUDRAIN COUNTY — Ralph Eugene Harbit, 62, of Mexico, was found guilty of rape and child molestation after a jury trial in Audrain County on Monday.
The rape and molestation of the girl, who was 8-10 years old at the time, happened periodically from 2007 through 2009.
"She didn't know what happened was wrong. He sexually abused her and controlled her family's reactions through fear, intimidation and physical abuse," said Prosecuting Attorney Jacob Shellabarger. "She held these secrets for years, and when a friend teased her about having been 'the favorite one', she broke down and told how Ralph abused her and tried to keep her silent."
The jury found Harbit guilty after just 25 minutes of deliberations at the Mexico Court House. He will be sentenced by Judge Wesley Dalton on October 20 and faces a minimum of five years in prison with a max term of more than 45 years imprisonment.