Mark Douglas Wise claims he is innocent, but he is going to prison for five-to-25 years after pleading no contest in a child sexual abuse case involving a four-year-old girl.
Ohio County Circuit Judge James Mazzone handed down the sentence after Wise, 53, of Wheeling, entered an Alford-Kennedy plea to a charge of first degree sexual assault. The plea allowed Wise to abstain from professing guilt while also acknowledging the evidence against him would likely be enough to convict.
Mazzone followed a joint recommendation by Assistant Ohio County Prosecutor Jenna Perkins and Defense Attorney Kevin Neiswonger.
In addition to the jail time, Mazzone ordered that upon release from prison, Wise must register with the State Police as a lifetime sex offender and that he be subjected to 25 years of supervised release.
Perkins said the child made consistent disclosures to family members about the abuse and a physical examination revealed evidence that sexual contact had been made. At Thursday's hearing, a family member of the victim told Wise he hurt the entire family.
"Your sentence is mild compared to the hurt you caused," she told Wise. "I pray she forgets about this."
Wheeling police arrested Wise on March 22, 2012, for sexually abusing the four-year-old under his care.
The girl underwent an examination at Ohio Valley Medical Center days later. She also was interviewed at child advocacy center Harmony House, where she disclosed sexual contact had occurred between her and Wise.