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Man seeks charges against stranger whom he says raped his daughter

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Feb 10, 2014 at 12:10 AM

The 18-year-old with the I.Q. of a 6-year-old awakens at night, screaming and crying.

The area teen is scared to attend her specialized school the next day.

She has nightmares. She's afraid the man she says raped her will find and attack her again.

Her father hears her cries, and two area police department chiefs say their officers are investigating the case. One of those departments has identified a "person of interest."'

But her father, Jerry Slagle of Willard, fears authorities won't pursue the charges. The alleged rapist is a former businessman with money, and they're "covering for him," Slagle contends.

Slagle, though, is not ignoring his mentally-challenged daughter's screams and cries.

By frigid day, for nearly a week, he has picketed outside the Willard Police Department's headquarters with a sign, expressing his belief that police and prosecutors are not taking his daughter's alleged attacker off the streets.

By even colder night, Slagle has paced the streets in front of the man's apartment. Slagle wants to ensure that the man won't hurt any other children -- and there are a lot of children in the apartment complex where the man who allegedly "took her security ... took her virginity" lives, Slagle said.

Altogether, Slagle estimated he spends 14 to 16 hours a day in front of the Willard Police Department and then at night keeps an eye out for the children in the man's building.

He only leaves when the suspect, whom the Reflector is not naming because he is not charged, turns out the lights and goes to sleep, about 10:30 or 11 p.m.

Slagle said his daughter doesn't know the man, who is in his 70s, but she's friendly and likes and trusts everybody.

So last Friday, Slagle said the man got the teenager's name from another student and followed her school bus to her house.

When she got off, he lured her to him, claiming he'd take her to his house, out to eat and to play games, Slagle said.

The victim's brother tried to stop the man's car after she got in, but it was too late.

Slagle said her daughter got scared at the stranger's home and texted her mother.

Police were called.

"They found my daughter's blood in his bed," Slagle said, adding authorities also found two used condoms in his apartment and blood on a towel.

"They're not charging the guy," Slagle said. "This guy's out on the street. They're covering for him."

"I think they're just sitting on (the case)," said the teen's grandfather, Gerald Slagle. "They put off everything until tomorrow.

"It's a shame. They just don't pick the guy up. I don't know why; this is his second offense."

Police are investigating the case, said Willard Police Chief Mark Holden and Plymouth Police Chief Charles Doan.

"We have an ongoing investigation," Doan told the Reflector Thursday. "We don't want to see the guilty guy go free and we don't want to see an innocent guy get charged."

Doan was asked if there's a suspect.

"We certainly have a person of interest," Doan said, adding one could also use the word "suspect."

Doan was told about Slagle's picketing and claiming police are not doing their job in the case.

"That's his privilege to do," Doan said.

"I can tell you we are conducting an active investigation on the allegations," Holden said Thursday.

"BCI has been involved," Holden said, referring to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. "Despite some rumors and some people's criticism, the case is being actively investigated. To meet certain elements, there are certain things we have to do."

The Reflector was made aware of the allegations when four different people called the newsroom this week. Each caller reported similar allegations.

The first suspected incident was reported to the Plymouth Police Department on Jan. 31. Holden was asked why the complaint was filed in Plymouth and not Willard.

"The girl lives over there. I believe she's 18," said Holden, who declined to provide further details on the victim or the male suspect.

Police plan to present the case to Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler's office once the investigation is completed.

"Plymouth might be (pursuing) a charge or two on him, so we might combine the cases," Holden said.

A woman who was driving to Attica called the Reflector on Thursday and said she saw a man picketing about the case and suspect in front of Willard city hall.

At least one reader expressed her thoughts on the Reflector's Facebook page.

People have brought Jerry Slagle hot chocolate and motorists have honked their horn in support of him, he said.

"My daughter's got a hard enough life," her father said. He added he is protesting in front of Willard Police headquarters, which is next to city hall, to bring justice for his daughter.

He was asked how long he will continue standing in front of the police department/city hall during the day and patrolling the apartment complex where the man whom he believes raped his daughter lives.

"Until justice is served and he's taken off the streets," he said.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Reflector Staff Writers Cary Ashby and Aaron Krause contributed to this story.

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