Army vet must serve at least 25 years for sexually abusing, choking child

by Kelsi Loos
The Frederick News-Post

Despite emotional appeals from family to not let Reginald Ben Mentor's crimes define him, the Frederick man was sentenced to serve at least 25 years of a life sentence for sexually abusing two children.

Prosecutors requested the life sentence for the 38-year-old Mentor on Wednesday because of the violent nature of his case.

Mentor’s family urged Rolle to consider Mentor’s military service, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the fact that he was drunk at the time of the sexual assault.

Details around Mentor’s military service were hazy at the hearing. His family members said that combat had changed him and left him with PTSD, but Leache noted that in a psychological evaluation Mentor said he had never seen combat. She emphasized that Mentor self-reported his mental condition.

Not in question was that Mentor was honorably discharged after serving in Afghanistan, Iraq and Korea.

Assistant states attorney Tammy Leache said that on Feb. 14, 2015, Mentor sexually abused an 8-year-old girl and choked her until she was close to death.

“I think the defendant is clearly a predator. He preys on little girls,” Leache said.

Several of Mentor’s family members strongly objected to Leache’s characterization of Mentor as a predator.

They spoke on his behalf Wednesday, frequently through tears, urging Judge Scott Rolle to focus on treatment and pass a sentence less than life in prison.

“It’s not who he is and does not reflect who he is as an individual,” said Mentor’s sister, one of about a dozen supporters in the courtroom.

Rolle, an Army judge advocate general officer, did not appear to give much credence to the self-reported PTSD, calling it fake.

He noted the profound impact the crime had on the child and Mentor’s own family.

“What I can never understand or justify is harming a child,” Rolle said before announcing his sentence. “It had to be punished severely.”

Mentor’s attorney, Carl Somerlock said that his client hadn’t undergone a psychosexual evaluation so it was unfair to characterize him as a predator.

Somerlock argued for a sentence of no more than 20 years, saying that the nature of the act and Mentor’s otherwise clean record did not warrant a life sentence.

When given his chance to speak, Mentor thanked his family for their support, but offered no apology.

“I just wish it could have been different and I wish the truth could have prevailed more,” he said.

The sentencing came after a jury found him guilty on May 2 of sex abuse of a minor, second-degree assault, child abuse and second-degree sex offense.

Mentor resolved a second case Wednesday in which he had pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a different minor in 2012.

His sentence in that case could add an additional 10 years to whatever portion of the life sentence a judge chooses to impose if Mentor were to violate probation upon his release.

The children are not being identified because The Frederick News-Post typically does not name victims of sexual assault.

©2016 The Frederick News-Post (Frederick, Md.)
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