Giovanni Levy accepts plea bargain

Giovanni Levy

Giovanni Levy

Rabab Al-Sharif

Giovanni Levy, who was charged with raping a male Kent State student last summer, avoided a maximum sentence of 22 years in prison by agreeing to a plea deal. Levy was sentenced to four years in prison last Monday after he agreed to plead guilty to a reduced charge of sexual battery.

Other charges of aggravated burglary and two counts of sexual imposition were dismissed. 

Stephen Michniak, Portage County Common Pleas Court Prosecutor said in January that the state offered a reduced sentence because the victims did not want to testify. Portage County Prosecutor Victor Viggluicci said that victims’ requests are always considered.

“We review all of these cases with victims and law enforcement agencies to take into consideration those factors,” said Viggluicci. “We do confer with the victims and take their wishes into consideration.”

Levy was indicted Sept. 8, 2011 on one count each of rape and aggravated burglary, both first-degree felonies, and two counts of sexual imposition, first-degree misdemeanors. The charges could have resulted in a maximum of 22 years in prison, his defense team said. A maximum sentence is rarely possible or imposed, Vigluicci said.

The court dismissed all but one count of rape, which was reduced to sexual battery in the plea deal. The reduced charge carried a maximum of six years in prison, said Levy’s public defender Walter Madison. Levy received a four-year sentence.

Levy will serve his prison sentence at the Lorain Correctional Institution and will receive credit for 195 days already served in the Portage County Jail. He will be registered as a Tier III Sex Offender for life. Tier III is the highest classification level for a sex offender and includes public notification postcards sent out to neighbors. These offenders have to register every 90 days for life.

In January, the prosecution offered to reduce the charge of rape to sexual battery and amend the burglary charge from a first degree felony to a fourth degree, in exchange for a guilty plea. Levy rejected the offer, despite strong urging from his then-public defender Dennis Lager to take the deal.

“I can’t speak on what happened before I represented [Levy],” Madison said. “As far as the other day goes, it was an agreement that was reached by all parties that was reasonable and fair under the factual circumstances.”

At the January hearing Laurie Pittman, Portage County Common Pleas judge, granted Levy’s request for new counsel, a reversal of her decision at the Oct. 28, 2011 pretrial. She appointed attorney Walter Madison to replace Lager. 

Levy was accused of breaking into a house in the 200 block of East College Avenue and raping a male Kent State student on Aug. 21, 2011. The victim was unable to resist due to impairment, according to the indictment.

The sexual imposition charges came from a Sept. 3, 2011 incident in the 500 block of South Lincoln Street, in which Levy allegedly had nonconsensual sexual contact twice with another male victim.

Kent police arrested him on Sept. 8, 2011 after the victims came forward.

This is Levy’s second sex-related crime.

He was convicted in 2006 of sexually assaulting a Summit County man. He was sentenced to eight months in prison for that crime and registered as a sex offender.

He was fined last year for failing to register his address with the proper authorities after he moved, court records show.

Contact Rabab Al-Sharif at [email protected].