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Dad who raped 22-month-old son could be paroled

Boy's mom served time for killing him
Posted at 11:23 PM, Jan 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-18 23:42:18-05

HAMILTON, Ohio – A dad who admitted raping his 22-month-old son in 1994 could go free from prison next week.

Some members of the parole board believe that Mark Sprague is amenable to parole, and he will receive a full hearing next Thursday.

But he won’t go free if Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser can help it.

"He is beyond redemption in this prosecutor's opinion," Gmoser told WCPO Thursday.

The details of the case are hard to hear – young Christopher Sprague, just shy of his second birthday, raped by his father, Mark Sprague, and killed by blows from his mother, Della Sprague.

The blows to Christopher’s back caused a vein near his heart to rupture. In addition, the autopsy revealed that  he had been sexually assaulted.

The two acts were connected, said Gmoser, who is fighting Mark Sprague’s second bid for parole.

"I think he is an accessory, if you will, to that child's death,” Gmoser said.

Della Sprague  claimed that Christopher wouldn't stop coughing and she pounded his back to stop that.

Gmoser doesn't buy it.

 “The child probably was crying as a result of the sex - the deviant sexual misconduct,” Gmoser said. “What would you expect from a 22-month old child having been assaulted in that manner? Of course he's going to be crying continuously, and the mother stopped it lethally."

Della Sprague pleaded guilty to her role in causing Christopher’s death. She served her time in prison and was released.

Mark Sprague confessed to the rape of his son and was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole after 10 years.  

Gmoser said his office will do what it can to make sure that Mark Sprague stays in prison for life.

"He used his child - a 22-month-old little boy - as a tool for his self-gratification. Now that's just beyond redemption," Gmoser said.