CLEVELAND (WJW) — An 81-year-old Parma pastor who sexually assaulted several female victims over the course of nine years — often in his church — and preyed on their vulnerabilities will likely spend the rest of his natural life in prison.
Cuyahoga County Common Pleas visiting Judge Janet Burnside on Tuesday sentenced Marvin Carey of Parma Christian Church to a total of 18 years in prison on charges of rape and gross sexual imposition.
Carey “developed relationships” with each of his five victims while pastoring at the church near Ridge Road and Regency Drive, according to information from county prosecutors.
“Once he learned of the victims’ vulnerabilities he could exploit, he began sexually assaulting the victims,” reads the release from prosecutors.
- Carey sexually assaulted a 64-year-old woman inside the church in 2009, and again in 2019, according to prosecutors. It was first reported to police in 2019.
- Between January and April 2015, Carey met his second victim, an 18-year-old woman attending the church with her grandmother. He drove them to appointments and, during those car rides, sexually assaulted the 18-year-old woman, prosecutors said.
- Carey met his third victim, a 49-year-old woman, inside her Cleveland apartment, where he sexually assaulted her multiple times.
- Carey sexually assaulted his fourth victim, a 56-year-old woman, multiple times between 2014 and 2019 in the church.
- In 2018, Carey intended to drive the fifth victim, a 25-year-old woman from her Parma Heights home to another location. He first drove somewhere else, then sexually assaulted her. He also sexually assaulted her inside the church.
“I never thought that you would take weak, low self-esteem and scared women as myself and [do] what you did,” said one the victims in her impact statement. She said Carey knew she was “struggling for money.”
“All I can say is God is the only one to judge you now,” she said. “We knew each other for 17 years in my family’s church, and I would never believe in all these years you were the devil in the sheepskin clothing.”
Another woman said she can no longer go back to her childhood home, where Carey assaulted her. She moved out to “try and get some closure,” she told the court.
“I was depressed. I was suicidal at points because of what he had done. I never thought anybody like him would do that,” she said. “I trusted this man with my entire life.”
Judge Burnside said Carey used his position as a pastor and local food bank operator “to victimize people.”
“You just can’t imagine that this kind of thing goes on, but I’m here to tell you it goes on all the time,” the judge said.
Carey was indicted in December 2021 on dozens of counts, including rape, kidnapping and gross sexual imposition, among others court records show. He pleaded guilty in January 2023 to two counts of rape and two counts of gross sexual imposition, while the remaining charges were dropped. As part of his plea arrangement, specifications declaring him a sexually violent predator were dropped.
Carey received consecutive nine-year sentences on his rape counts and 18-month sentences for the gross sexual imposition counts, to be served concurrently.
Upon release, he’ll be classified as a Tier III sex offender in Ohio and will be required to register his address every 90 days for the rest of his life.
Carey said his attorneys advised him against addressing the court. But he used that opportunity to air grievances about his treatment at the county jail and claim he’s missing prescribed medications.
“Ten months ago, when I came into the Cuyahoga County concentration camp — er, the jail, excuse me — I walked in on my own two feet,” said Carey, who used a walker to take his seat in the courtroom.
Even if he survives to finish his sentence, Carey said he will be unable to return to his Florida retirement community as planned, since it bars sex offenders. He said his wife divorced him “so that she may continue on with her life.”
“Since I won’t be able to survive; to get by outside, I’m asking you to pronounce the death penalty,” Carey implored the judge. “Have them give me a shot and put me to sleep and be humane all the way around.”
Judge Burnside said she does not have that authority.