Woman admits guilt in case involving nieces

Published 11:25 am Thursday, January 10, 2013

More than a month after a Proctorville man was convicted of the rape of three nieces, the man’s wife admitted to her involvement Wednesday in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court.

Beverly Copley, 57, of 1518 County Road 70, pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree child endangerment, which were amended charges from an original indictment of 41 counts of first-degree complicity to rape. Columbus-based attorney Sterling Gill represented the woman.

Prosecuting Attorney Brigham Anderson said Copley’s plea agreement was made at the time her husband, Don Copley, agreed to plead guilty to 15 of 51 counts of first-degree rape in late November, rather than go to trial. The man received a 60-year sentence in prison.

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“She was not directly involved in any of the sexual abuse,” Anderson said, saying Copley failed to notify authorities of the abuse, a charge more clearly defined as endangerment rather than complicity.

Judge Charles Cooper scheduled Copley for sentencing on Jan. 23 following a pre-sentence investigation.

Anderson said Copley would mostly likely be sentenced to community-controlled sanctions.

The Copleys were indicted by a Lawrence County Grand Jury in February 2012 after their three nieces, now adults, came forward to report the abuse.

At the time the abuse began, the three sisters, ages 13, 7 and 6, had just been placed in the Copley home by the Department of Job and Family Services. The eldest had also been raped by her father, Kenneth Copley, Don Copley’s brother, who was sentenced to prison for the crime in 1992.