Father acquitted of raping, sexually assaulting daughter

Father+acquitted+of+raping%2C+sexually+assaulting+daughter

By Staff Report

Following the conclusion of a three-day trial, jurors in Muskingum County found a local father not guilty of raping and sexually assaulting his daughter over a decade ago.

The allegations first arose to law enforcement in 2018 after one of the defendant’s children reported allegedly seeing the now 48-year-old walk into the bedroom of his teenage step-daughter in undergarments.

Upon hearing that claim, the defendant’s daughter, now in her mid-twenties, chose to report an alleged series of sexual assaults by her father when she was still a teenager.

A thorough investigation, which included statements by the defendant’s step-daughter, would exonerate the father of any wrongdoing in the original matter, but reports to law enforcement of the alleged assault on the defendant’s daughter would spur detectives and prosecutors to begin an investigation that would result in the man being criminally charged in February of this year.

Throughout the trial, numerous witnesses were called to testify by both sides, a majority of which were family members of both the accused and the accuser.

According to that testimony, the events in question began with a failing marriage between the defendant and his now ex-wife.

The resulting divorce would rip the family apart.

While the parties disagree on the underlying cause, what is clear is that the defendant and his ex-wife would rarely speak to one another during the dissolution and when they did interact it was often unpleasant, all while living in the same residence.

The resulting family dispute would lead to the defendant and his daughter spending more time together.

According to testimony in court, the mother would not speak to her daughter and the couple’s two sons would not speak to their father.

The ex-wife felt as if the daughter was replacing her and the father resented that his sons chose not to speak to him, in alliance with their mother.

According to the daughter, the alleged assaults by the father began one night when she was 13-years-old after he asked her to come downstairs with him.

The daughter alleged that once downstairs he acted in a lewd manner and forced her to touch his genitals.

According to her, this occurred nightly until one day when she had stayed home from school and the father allegedly made her walk into the parent’s bedroom and forced her to take off her clothes before sexually assaulting her.

The daughter states this was the last time she was ever sexually assaulted by her father.

Around that time the defendant would meet his now wife of over 11 years.

A relationship would develop and she would become pregnant with his child.

Both the defendant and his ex-wife admitted to infidelity near the end of their marriage.

One of the fiercely argued points in court was that the mother allegedly suspected inappropriate behavior during the dissolution of their marriage.

However, in court, she alleged to only ever telling two people of that suspicion.

One was her first divorce attorney, who she alleges told her if true, would also get her in trouble with the law.

The second was the defendant’s sister.

Numerous witnesses were called to attempt to validate if the sister was told, but no such attempt was made to validate such a claim made to the ex-wife’s first divorce attorney.

Following the divorce, the mother allowed the father to have full custody of his daughter, while she maintained custody of the couple’s two boys.

Another contentious point heavily argued in court was the alligations of a peephole in the bathroom, the daughter reported existed when she was a teenager.

She had stated to law enforcement that the peephole allowed her father, from the home’s master walk-in closet, to see into the shower where she would bathe.

Detectives, family members, the defendant and the current homeowner would testify that no such viewing hole existed.

The homeowner, who was one of the few non-relative witnesses, stated that he received the home out of foreclosure.

The defendant and his ex-wife had lost the home to the bank following their divorce.

He testified that the home was not in great shape and needed lots of repairs.

According to him, the closet’s paint was very thin and matched the rest of the home.

He argued that short of re-drywalling the entire closet, something he didn’t think had occurred, he was positive there had never been a peephole in the home.

During the time of the alleged assault, witnesses and evidence were presented that showed the daughter’s grades had not been affected and that those around her including teachers and school staff members did not suspect anything unusual occurring┬áin her life.

The daughter had never told anyone of the alleged assault until she made a report to law enforcement in 2018, months after the relationship with her father had deteriorated.

The daughter stated in court that she reported the alleged assaults, that had occurred to her when she was a teenager, out of fear that her father was doing the same thing to her step-sister.

The step-daughter, who had known the defendant since she was very young, adamantly denied that her father was even capable of such horrendous acts.

In what was arguably the most compelling and impactful testimony of the entire trial, the step-daughter spoke of her relationship with her father and her non-existent relationship with her step-sister.

In one particular part of her testimony, which appeared to grab the attention of every member of the jury, the step-daughter spoke about her step-sister organizing a series of photos of the defendant’s children for Father’s Day and not including her.

Ultimately, after closing arguments by Muskingum County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Ron Welch and defense attorney Kris Hill, the jury, made up of seven women and five men spent nearly three hours in deliberation.

Upon notice that a verdict had been reached, family members of both the accused and the accuser entered the courtroom, many related to one another.

The jury had found the defendant not guilty to all four criminal counts, which included rape and gross sexual imposition.

Charges that likely, if he had been found guilty, would have resulted in the defendant spending the rest of his life in prison.

Hill, an attorney with Graham & Graham, said that he believes the prosecution did a good job with the case, but that ultimately the jury spoke and that justice was achieved.

The defense attorney spoke on the effect the case had on the defendant, and his wife and two children, who for seven months were separated from their husband and father.

“To see your family member go through that, I can’t even imagine,” said Hill who also spoke about the economic effects the case had on the family, as one of the breadwinners of the household was locked up on a $500,000 bond.

The defendant, who spent over half-a-year of his life imprisoned in the Muskingum County Jail, will not receive any compensation for his imprisonment on charges a jury of his peers ultimately found him not guilty of having committed.

Welch, who declined to speak to the media following the trial, issued the following statement.

“The State is disappointed that the jury found the defendant not guilty. This case exemplifies the difficulty in prosecuting sexual assault cases especially ones where the reporting of the sexual assault is delayed. I am proud of the courage displayed by the victim during this difficult process. Our office will continue its leadership in aggressively pursuing justice for sexual assault victims despite the challenges in achieving justice demonstrated by this trial.”

Editor’s note: Due to the sensitive nature of this case and in an attempt to protect the identities of both the alleged victim, the exonerated defendant and family members, this story has been published without names or identifying details.