AUDRAIN COUNTY, Mo. - Audrain County Prosecuting Attorney Jacob Shellabarger announced on Friday that Ralph Harbit, 62, was sentenced a total of 45 years confinement for statutory rape and child molestation.
Harbit is accused of raping a girl who was 8-10 years old at the time of the incidents between 2007 and 2009.
"This sentence is the maximum possible for damage Ralph Harbit did," Shellabarger said. "It's appropriate and warranted for a man who had zero remorse and no insight into how his actions affected this family. Ralph Harbit's years of abuse and terror through a family that trusted him has caused great damage, even lasting until today in psychological harm. Harbit took absolutely no responsibility and showed no remorse in raping and molesting a little girl and used his position to abuse and harm her family to keep this girl silent. He divided a family and put a young girl in a position where she felt her whole world depended on keeping silent about what Ralph Harbit did to her. Most of us can't imagine the kind of mental and physical pain and pressure that places on a child and how damaging it can be."
Harbit showered this girl with praise, lavish gifts and what he called love, tools that many abusers use, Shellabarger said.
"Because of a jury's verdict, this young woman can grow and heal having told the truth about what Ralph did to her without carrying the crushing burden of secrets and shame Ralph put on her," Shellabarger said.