IRONTON, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Her husband is already in prison for raping three young family members, now 57-year-old Beverly Copley faces the same fate as her husband, something she reportedly did not expect to happen.
Last February, Copley, of Lawrence County, Ohio, was indicted on 41- counts of complicity to rape. Her husband, 69-year-old Don Copley, was indicted on 51 counts of first-degree rape.
In 1991, prosecutors say Don Copley became the caretaker for three young girls after they were sexually abused by another family member. But soon after they came into his care, Don started sexually assaulting them, too.
In November, Don pleaded guilty to reduced charges of 15 counts of rape and was sentenced to 60 years in prison.
Earlier this month, Beverly pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree child endangerment as part of a plea agreement.
Thursday, Beverly was sentenced to three years in prison on each count, to be served concurrently.
As part of the plea, prosecutors recommended that Beverly not serve any jail time, but be placed on probation and perform 200 hours of community service.
Prosecutors also said that was part of their deal with Don. He told prosecutors that he would agree to plea deal, if the state would reduce the charges against his wife so she would not be sentenced to jail time.
Those assaults were against three female family members.
While they're adults now, all were juveniles when the crimes took place.
Don Copley, 69, was sentenced to 60 years in prison.
The packed courtroom was filled with raw emotion. Relatives from both sides were there, many of them in tears for very different reasons.
There were sobs of relief for three sisters, raped as children by a man who prosecutors say was supposed to care for and protect them.
“Since the age of 7, I have lived my entire life in fear ... Because of what Don Copley did to me,” one sister said.
Copley pleaded guilty Monday morning to 15 counts of rape.
“I'd like to admit my guilt,” Copley said. “I don't know why it happened ... Maybe human nature.”
At the sentencing, the victims described the torment they've suffered since they were young.
“It's there,” one sister said. “It's every time my husband comes up to touch me when I'm doing dishes. It's every day in my life, all day long.”
“I've lived in fear my entire life,” another said. “I ask that you take that fear away from me.”
The girls were sent to live with Copley and his wife after one of the sisters was sexually assaulted by her father.
The defendant claimed that he, too, was sexually assaulted as a child.
“This was a family cycle,” Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Brigham Anderson said. “He was abused ... That cycle has to end somewhere.”
The sisters say the cycle is over.
“I'm going to move on and raise my children in a happy home that I was never given by my father or my uncle,” one sister said.
Although the abuse began decades ago, charges were not filed until last year. These young women say they want others to learn from what they have suffered, as well as to encourage victims of sexual abuse to come forward.
“Just speak up,” the sisters said. “Until someone listens and follows through. Don't ever be afraid to talk about it.”
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