Thursday, August 09, 2007

Dinkel gets 60 days

Judge's rape case
ruling strikes a compromise

The tearful mother of a 15-year-old boy raped by 51-year-old Jeni Lee Dinkel asked the judge to send the "sick woman" to jail.

Dinkel's own 15-year-old cancer-ridden son asked the judge to keep his "great mom" free so she could care for him.

Kenton Circuit Judge Greg Bartlett said it was an unusual case and struck a compromise.

Bartlett, who could have sent Dinkel to jail for five years, on Tuesday sentenced her to five years probation and ordered her to jail for 60 days later this year after her son's radiation treatment.

The sentencing climaxed a controversial case that raised questions about proper punishment for the mother of a boy with cancer who raped one of her son's friends.

Bartlett previously rejected a plea deal that would have spared Dinkel, who pleaded guilty to third-degree rape, jail time.

"It is difficult to sentence a woman who has children," said Bartlett. "This case is out of the ordinary. A serious crime has been committed against a child."

The judge ordered Dinkel to complete 60 days in jail by the end of this year and, saying he understood her son's radiation treatment was to be finished by the end of September, suggested she report to jail Oct. 5.

Bartlett also ordered Dinkel to register as a sex offender for the next 20 years, receive psychological counseling, substance abuse treatment, pay a $2,500 fine, volunteer 200 hours of community service working with under-privileged women and earn no profit from books or movies about the case.

Dinkel, a Hollywood makeup artist who lives in Villa Hills, left the courtroom in tears with her husband, former Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Tom Dinkel.

Before the judge sentenced Dinkel, he heard emotional testimony from both sides in the case.

Joshua Crabtree, an attorney for the Children's Law Center, spoke as a representative of the victim, who was 15 years old at the time of the crime last year and is now 16 and a rising junior at Covington Catholic High School.

The victim, said Crabtree, wanted it made clear that it was Dinkel who pursued him, not the other way around.

"Even when she knew this relationship was inappropriate, it was Mrs. Dinkel who would continue to contact him via text messaging and calling his cell phone while in school and at baseball or other kinds of practices to try to set up opportunities for them to be together," said Crabtree.

"It was Mrs. Dinkel that would pick him up at school and have him lay down in the back of the car as she drove him to her house and she would drop him off at the corner convenience store when she took him home so nobody would know where he was coming from.

"Most traumatic for him was at one point he was told by Mrs. Dinkel that she could be pregnant."

As for Dinkel's sentence, Crabtree said the boy was concerned that it might be different "from what would normally happen when someone pleads guilty to rape," a reference to the earlier plea deal in which Dinkel would avoid jail.

Tom Dinkel testified that his wife realized what she did was "wrong, inappropriate and bad judgment," but added, "she is also a very caring and loving mother."

He urged the judge not to send his wife to jail so she could continue to care for their 15-year-old son, Alex, as he receives treatment for cancer.

Tom Dinkel read the judge a letter from the couple's son, which began, "Dear Judge Bartlett, you don't know me, but I'm Alex Dinkel, Jeni Dinkel's son.

"I need your help and understanding because I cannot tell you how much I need my mom during this hard time I am facing. I need her more now than anything else in the world.

"I don't think I can beat this cancer without her. The truth is, I'm scared of dying. I need her to keep pushing me and not letting me ever give up. She makes me believe I can beat this cancer.

"I have prayed every night for her to stay with me and not leave me alone. I hope you and God have heard my prayers."

Villa Hills police began investigating Dinkel after they were called to her home in October on a report that alcohol was being supplied to minors at a loud party

Dinkel must register as a sex offender, receive counseling, substance abuse treatment, pay a $2,500 fine, and do 200 hours of community service.


This from the Cincinnati Post. Photo by BRUCE CRIPPEN/The Post.

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