December 22, 2014

Elyria
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WATCH: Joseph Allen sent back to prison in Head Start case

ELYRIA — A sobbing Joseph Allen was led out a Lorain County courtroom in handcuffs today after being ordered back to prison in the controversial Head Start child molestation case.

An agreement between Allen and prosecutors imposes a new sentence of 10 to 25 years in prison for Allen. He will get credit for time he’s already served.

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Joseph Allen was ordered back to prison Oct. 1, 2013. THE CHRONICLE-TELEGRAM/BRUCE BISHOP

Allen, who has a prior criminal record, was originally sentenced to consecutive life prison terms.

Allen’s attorney, K. Ronald Bailey, said the new deal is far better for his client than the original sentence.

Allen’s codefendant, former Head Start Bus driver Nancy Smith, accepted that she had been convicted during a similar hearing in June. She was sentenced to 12 years in prison, less time than the nearly 15 years she actually spent behind bars before being released by Lorain County Common Pleas Judge James Burge in 2009.

Burge acquitted both Smith and Allen after reviewing the evidence against them from their 1994 trial and concluding they had been wrongly convicted. Those rulings were later overturned on appeal, although the pair, who have long maintained their innocence, have remained free since 2009.

Both Smith and Allen have applied for executive clemency from Ohio Gov. John Kasich. The Ohio Parole Board has suggested Kasich deny both clemency requests.

Read Wednesday’s Chronicle for more on this story.