Alleged Kent rapist rejects state’s offer

Rabab Al-Sharif

A Kent man accused of sexually assaulting two male Kent State students in late August, early September, rejected a plea bargain made by the state at a pretrial hearing Wednesday morning.

Giovanni D. Levy, 29, of 1605 S. Water St., Apt. 10, was indicted Sept. 8 on one count each of rape and aggravated burglary, both first-degree felonies, and two counts of sexual imposition, a first-degree misdemeanor, charges that his defense said would likely result in up to 22 years in prison if he rejected.

The prosecution offered to amend the charge of rape to a charge of sexual battery, a felony of the third degree, and amend the burglary charge from a felony of the first degree to a felony of the fourth degree, resulting in a maximum of six and a half years in prison, said Levy’s former public defender, Dennis Lager.

The prosecuting attorney, Stephen Michniak, said the state offered a reduced sentence because the victims, understandably, do not want to testify.

At the hearing, in a Portage County Common Pleas Court, Judge Laurie Pittman granted Levy’s request for new council, a request she denied during the Oct. 28 pretrial, and appointed Attorney Walter Madison to replace Lager.

When Pittman asked if there had been a breakdown in communication between Levy and his council, Levy said, “There was no communication.”

“That is a lie,” Lager responded, but communicated that there was disagreement.

Levy’s indictment alleges that on Aug. 21, Levy broke into a house in the 200 block of East College Avenue and raped a male Kent State student. The victim was unable to resist due to impairment, according to the indictment.

The sexual imposition charges came from an alleged incident on Sept. 3 in the 500 block of South Lincoln Street. Levy allegedly had nonconsensual sexual contact with another male victim twice. Following those offenses, Kent police arrested him.

At his arraignment in September, Levy pleaded not guilty and was placed on a $3 million cash surety bond, which remains in place.

Portage County Court records show that the criminal jury trial will begin Jan. 24 at 9 a.m., but are likely to be delayed in order to give Madison time to review the case and prepare, Michniak said. A status conference is scheduled for Jan. 30 at 10 a.m.

After being convicted in 2006 on a sexual assault crime, also a male victim, Levy was registered as a sexual oriented offender on the Portage County Sheriff’s Office sex offender registry website.

According to court records, he was convicted again last year of failing to register his address with the proper authorities after he moved.

Contact Rabab Al-Sharif at [email protected].

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was updated Jan. 19 at 10:52 p.m.