Mark Sprague, Sent To Prison For Repeatedly Raping His Toddler Son, Now Out On Parole

Stock photo of an empty prison cell.
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Mark Sprague was sentenced in 1995 in Columbus, Ohio, to three life sentences for raping his 1-year-old toddler son—and he is now free walking the streets. As CBS KUTV reported, the Ohio Parole Board made the decision to release Mark Sprague in September, and the convicted toddler rapist was released on Monday. Sprague admitted to raping his own son, Christopher, pleading guilty to rape and felonious sexual penetration. The convicted rapist received multiple life sentences with a chance of parole.

Shortly after being raped, Christopher tragically died before even seeing his second birthday. Evidence of the toddler’s rape was discovered after he was accidentally killed by his mother, Della Sprague. Christopher’s mother said that the toddler was coughing, so she hit him on the back, and the blow was so hard that it ripped a vein near his heart, as Cincinnati’s Local 12 reported. At the time, Della Sprague pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter for the death of her toddler, and like Christopher’s father, she is also out of prison.

As CBS KUTV reported, Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser, who was not involved in Mark Sprague’s trial, said he is the voice of Christopher.

“This child died at 22 months; he was not alive to express his objections to what happened to him. His tears, his crying is what probably caused his death by his mother. Because what would you expect to have with rectal tearing in a child still in diapers.”

The parole board released Sprague because they found that he had served a sufficient portion of his sentence, and he completed institutional programming to abate his risk to reoffend. Mike Gmoser responded to the parole board’s decision, as CBS KUTV documented.

“I represent the victim in this case. I represent the state of Ohio, frankly, in the technical sense, and I’m the voice of this young person that was so viciously abused by a person who is beyond redemption. Now the Parole Authority said, ‘Well, he’s not planning to have more children.’ He’s being released with a hope and a prayer that he doesn’t have more children.”

As Local 12 reported, Mark Sprague’s sisters showed up to show their support, telling the parole board that they will do “anything helpful” to make sure their brother does what he needs to do. Apparently, living with them isn’t one of the “helpful” things that the sisters are willing to do, however, as they both said that Mark could not live with them. Still, the parole board felt that Mark Sprague was mentally fit to be released from prison, even without the supervision of his family. The convicted toddler rapist is now a registered sex offender, and he will be relocated to a halfway house in either Cincinnati or Columbus, Ohio.

Assistant Butler County Prosecutor Lindsey Sheehan told the parole board that Mark is an impulse sex offender, and that he is likely to commit a similar crime again. Sheehan said that they couldn’t protect Christopher, but that they could protect the community by keeping Sprague behind bars. In addition, over 2,000 people opposed the parole, signing a petition on the Block Parole website. But the county prosecutors’ expert opinions and the public petition didn’t do any good in keeping the convicted toddler rapist behind bars. As Local 12 documented, parole board member Trayce Tralheim said that they’ve seen growth in Mark Sprague, and that they wouldn’t be sitting there if they didn’t think he was suitable for release.