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A Corvallis man was sentenced in Linn County Circuit Court on Thursday to more than six years in prison for two counts of first-degree sex abuse.

Zhivago Rhodes, 38, was found guilty at the conclusion of a jury trial last month. The victim in the case was an elementary school-aged girl from Albany.

Judge Thomas McHill said he carefully considered the evidence presented during the trial, and hoped the sentence would provide some sort of closure.

“The damage, I understand, is incalculable,” McHill said.

Prosecutor George Eder asked for a sentence of 12.5 years, saying that the jury found that the girl had been abused on two separate instances.

“It occurred in (the victim’s) home always, a place where she should be safe,” Eder added.

Defense attorney Michael Lowry argued that the evidence presented focused primarily on only one of the incidents that Rhodes was found guilty of, and asked the court for mercy.

The victim’s mother was present at the hearing but did not make a statement to McHill.

Rhodes’ family members told McHill that Rhodes is a good person who likes to help others and make people laugh.

“We pray that anyone with an open heart can see the injustice that is being done here,” said MarQueasha Rhodes, Rhodes’ niece.

MarQueasha Rhodes said that her uncle walked through life in Oregon with a target on his back because he is black.

“His whole life is a track record of being kind and generous,” said Rhodes’ sister Keshia Merchant.

Zhivago Rhodes told McHill that he loved God, his family and his friends and they all supported him during his highest and lowest points.

After the hearing, about 20 of Rhodes’ family members and friends prayed in the courthouse hallway. “He will have us until the end,” Merchant said.

Lowry exited the courtroom and spoke to those in the prayer circle. “I know this is a hollow victory in a lot of ways,” Lowry said. “Six years is a lot.”

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Kyle Odegard can be reached at kyle.odegard@lee.net, 541-812-6077 or via Twitter @KyleOdegard.

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