Child rapist who assistant prosecutor says is a "high risk to re-offend" to be paroled

Child rapist who assistant prosecutor says is a "high risk to re-offend" to be paroled (Cincinnati Enquirer/ Butler County Department of Corrections)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKRC) - Even though nearly 2,500 people signed petitions to keep a child rapist in prison, the Ohio Parole Board decided to release Mark Sprague.

The evidence of rape was found after Christopher Sprague was accidentally killed by his mother.

Della Sprague said she hit him on the back because he was coughing. It was so hard it ripped a vein near his heart. The coroner said the 22-month-old was raped several times. An assistant Butler County prosecutor wanted the parole board to know what Sprague told police

"He also said, quote ‘I was thinking about having sex, my wife wasn't there so I see my son. I didn't understand why but I undressed him, removed his diaper, and just did it,’” said Assistant Butler County Prosecutor Lindsey Sheehan.

Sheehan called Sprague an “impulse sex offender.” She read from a report that says he is likely to re-offend.

"He is a huge risk to re-offend, we couldn't protect Christopher, but we can protect the community,” said Sheehan.

Sprague has gone through two sex offender programs and a substance abuse program.

"We've seen growth, learned everything, would not be sitting here if we didn't think suitable for release,” said Trayce Tralheim, a parole board member.

Sprague's two sisters came to show support.

"We are here to do anything helpful for him see that he does what he's supposed to do,” said Diane Comer, Sprague’s sister.

But the sisters said he could not live with them in their apartment in Hebron. Even without family supervision, the parole board said Mark Sprague has done his time.

"We're majority agree to release Mr. Sprague on or about October 1, 2018,” said Andrew Improgno, the Ohio Parole Board Chairman.

It will be a supervised release to a halfway house, in Cincinnati or Columbus. Among the rules, he can't be around children.

The 2,500 people who opposed the parole signed a petition through the Block Parole website.

"Halfway house has limited supervision at best, so I don't feel good about this release plan,” said Bret Vinocur of Block Parole Inc.

Sprague is a registered sex offender, so can find out if he's living near you through the sex offender website.

You can check for sex offenders using the Crime Map here.

Reporters are not allowed to question parole board members after decisions are made.

Members are appointed by the governor.

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