Area man accused of raping two children

Cary Ashby • Jun 16, 2013 at 1:18 PM

A former Willard man is accused of raping two girls when he was baby-sitting them.

Kenneth R. Bentley, 55, of Shelby, is charged with one count of rape in connection with a May 22 incident, according to Shelby Municipal Court records.

The Richland County Sheriff's Office investigated the case in which the suspect reportedly led authorities on a nearly hour-long chase before he was arrested near Meijer in Ontario.

Deputies responded to a Taylortown Road home May 22 after the mother of 7- and 11-year-old girls reportedly threatened to kill Bentley and accused him of molesting her two daughters, according to the Mansfield News Journal.

Bentley, who reportedly baby-sat for the victims for six months, initially was charged with obstruction of justice, but made bail and later stayed in Columbus, Detective Pat Smith told the Journal.

Authorities issued a warrant for Bentley's arrest on the rape charge June 6, according to court records.

Smith said Bentley's ex-wife drove him to the Franklin County Jail, where the suspect turned himself in. Deputies picked him up and transported him back to the Richland County Jail.

Bentley must post a $250,000 bond before being released from custody. There is no indication of a no-association order as a condition of bail.

His preliminary hearing is scheduled for today. Bentley has the right to waive his right to have prosecutors present evidence and his case would be transferred to Richland County Common Pleas Court for a possible grand jury indictment.

"At that (hearing), we'll present probable cause," said Smith, who couldn't be reached for comment Thursday.

If convicted of rape, Bentley faces three to 11 years in prison.

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