Belpre man sentenced on sex charge

MARIETTA – A Belpre man was called remorseless Tuesday as he was sentenced in Washington County Common Pleas Court to five years in prison for having sex with a teenage family member.

Allan S. Varner Jr., 44, of 316 Drag Strip Road was arrested in June after the girl – then 14 years old – reported to police that Varner had engaged in sexual intercourse with her on multiple occasions when the girl spent the night at Varner’s home.

Varner initially denied the girl’s allegations but later admitted to a detective that he engaged in sex acts with the victim on two occasions. He pleaded guilty Oct. 25 to one of the four third-degree felony counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor against him. The other three counts and four third-degree felony counts of sexual battery were in turn dismissed.

Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider said a prison sentence was warranted in the case, but Varner’s attorney Ray Smith said Varner would be a good candidate for community control.

“I’m sitting next to a client who has no criminal record at all. He’s…44 years old. He doesn’t do alcohol. He doesn’t do drugs,” said Smith.

Varner pleaded for a sentence of community control on the charge, citing his work and family obligations.

He has been employed with a lawn care service since 2001, said Smith.

“I work to keep my house. I work to keep my family. I go to work. I go home. I get back up in the morning and do work,” said Varner. “I’d like to be on probation, whatever it is, so I can work for my family.”

Varner did not apologize for the crime or mention the victim during his statement.

Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane said Varner displayed a total lack of remorse and an unwillingness to participate in a rehabilitation program.

“For me, for Mr. Varner to be eligible for community control there has to be some form of rehabilitation…He was evaluated for SEPTA and told them he wasn’t interested in the program,” he said.

Lane sentenced Varner to 60 months in prison, the maximum available punishment for a third-degree felony sex crime.

Smith objected to the maximum sentence, citing Varner’s complete lack of an adult or juvenile criminal record.

“Most sex offenders have no record,” Lane responded.

Varner has the right to appeal the sentence, he said.

Varner will be required to register as a Tier II sex offender with reporting requirements every six months for the next 25 years.