NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (April 28, 2022) – The Amish man who pleaded guilty to felony charges for sexually abusing two girls will be spending the next nine years in a state prison, and could end up there longer.
28-year-old David Levi Yoder returned to Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court this morning to be sentenced on an amended indictment charging him with single counts of rape and gross sexual imposition. Judge Michael Ernest ordered a 10 to 15-year term of imprisonment on the rape charge, which Yoder will have to serve in full since the time is mandatory, though he did get credit for the 380 days he spent in the county jail.
Yoder’s family members packed into the courtroom to learn his fate. One spoke on behalf of the entire group and asked the judge to consider a less restrictive punishment, saying Yoder had repented and they had forgiven him for his actions.
“It’s gonna take a toll on the family if he’s going to be in prison for 10 years, but I guess all that we can do is ask for your mercy.”
Assistant Prosecutor Scott Deedrick found the show of support for Yoder troubling.
“While I am glad to see all of these people here for the defendant, in support of his family, I don’t know who’s here on behalf of the victims. I hope that they have support. I hope that the community has embraced them and has been supportive of them, have given them the support they need and deserve.”
Ernest during the hearing gave Yoder an opportunity to withdraw his plea due to him not being informed that the rape count carried mandatory prison time when he entered it, but Yoder didn’t take it.
Yoder walked into the sheriff’s office and confessed to the crimes after one of his victims disclosed the abuse to a counselor, who was legally obligated to report it to law enforcement. His conviction carries a lifetime Tier III sex offender designation.