A Columbus man convicted of raping a Lewis Center resident was sentenced to five years in prison Monday morning.
Abulay Nian, 26, was in Delaware County Common Pleas Court Monday morning to be sentenced by Judge Everett Krueger. Nian was found guilty of rape, a second-degree felony, by a jury in April.
Krueger said rape charges can carry from a three- to 11-year mandatory prison sentence. After he considered the seriousness of the crime and the factors that led to it, Krueger sentenced Nian to five years in prison. Nian will be subject to five years of probation after his sentence is served and he will have to register as a Tier 3 sex offender.
Nian was arrested in November after a Lewis Center girl, then 17, told her mother that he came into her room, touched her crotch and began to perform oral sex on her.
Nian has maintained his innocence and said he only hugged the girl. “I’m here for something I didn’t do,” Nian said.
Nian had been working with the victim’s brother, a developmentally disabled boy, and teaching him life skills. The victim said the attack occurred right before Nian left their home for the day on Nov. 16, 2014.
Prosecuting attorney Mark Sleeper told the court that since the attack the girl has graduated high school but has put off pursuing higher education because of the attack.
Sleeper added that Nian had two prior convictions, a felony charge of possession of forged instruments in New York, and a misdemeanor charge of assault in South Carolina.
Nian was credited 68 days for the time he spent in the Delaware County Jail during court proceedings.
Nian’s attorney, David Birch, said Nian’s family has hired a lawyer from Dayton to handle an appeal of the guilty verdict.
Birch unsuccessfully filed a motion for a new trial last month, alleging jury misconduct during the two-day trial in April. Birch said one juror claimed other jurors had researched the case and read an article in the Columbus Dispatch that was published in November. Juries are instructed to consider only the evidence presented at trial.
After hearing the juror’s testimony, Krueger denied the motion, saying there was not sufficient evidence that the jurors had read the article.
Nian will reportedly begin his sentence immediately and has 30 days to file an appeal.