Two Trumbull men go to prison for sex crimes

WARREN — Two Trumbull County men on Thursday were given prison sentences in separate cases involving sexual abuse of young girls.

A case out of Liberty involved a perpetrator with a guilty conscience, and one out of Weathersfield centered on a man who made a video in a bathroom.

Trumbull County Assistant Prosecutor Gabriel Wildman said William O. Ross, 62, of Orchard Avenue SE, Howland, was charged after a cold case was solved by Liberty police with the help of a tip from a concerned citizen.

Ross received a 10-year-to life sentence after pleading guilty to multiple charges including six counts of rape and four counts of gross sexual imposition. His first chance for parole would be after serving 10 years in prison.

He also was labeled a Tier 3 sexual offender, which means if Ross is released he would have to register his address four times per year for the rest of his life.

Wildman said the female victim, who was 5 and 6 at the time of the offenses, now is an adult living in Florida and said she was pleased with the outcome of the case.

“She said, ‘He took my life from me; now the rest of his life has been taken from him,’ ” Wildman said in complimenting the Liberty Police Department for its investigative work.

The offenses took place at a mobile home park in Liberty, Wildman said, and the offenses included oral sex and other acts.

A tearful defendant broke down several times in trying to answer the judge. He said he went to the victim’s father, and he didn’t want to go on trial.

“I wanted to set things straight,” Ross said.

Ross, who was arrested Sept. 14, 2021, originally was indicted on 20 charges, but agreed to a plea deal in which he would plead guilty to half of them. The arrangement offset a scheduled April 11 jury trial.

Judge Ronald J. Rice said about the only positive thing he could say about this case is that the defendant accepted responsibility for the crimes.

“There is no excuse for your behavior,” the judge said.

In another case involving sex-related charges, Roger Strawser Jr., 49, of Sugar Pines Drive SW, Weathersfield, pleaded guilty to three counts of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance, a fifth-degree felony voyeurism and a second-degree misdemeanor voyeurism charge.

Strawser was sentenced by Rice to eight years in prison, and he was labeled a Tier 2 sexual offender, which requires him to register his address twice per year for 25 years after his release. He also faces five years of post-release control from the parole authority.

Wildman said the charges involve a “Go-Pro-style camera” in the bathroom and other parts of the home of a friend of the defendant. The camera caught the friend’s child, age 9 to 11, in a state of nudity. An adult woman was also captured in the video, which led to the misdemeanor charge, Wildman said.

When the judge asked Strawser why he did it, the defendant stammered for a while, but didn’t answer.

According to a report, Weathersfield police investigated the incidents starting in July 2021.

Strawser, who was indicted on seven charges and arrested on Jan. 26, 2022, agreed to the plea deal, which canceled the scheduled April 18 trial before Rice.