Man allegedly broke into neighbor's house, raped woman he didn't know

Cary Ashby • Jul 9, 2014 at 1:35 PM

A Collins man faces two sex-related felonies in connection with a suspected burglary near his home.

Jeffrey G. Knox, 37, of 1846 Clinton Road, has been formally charged with one count each of rape and gross sexual imposition. After the Huron County Sheriff's Office arrested him near the suspected crime scene early Sunday and interviewed him, deputies charged him with aggravated burglary.

"The defendant was trespassing at the time of the offense. He did not know the victim," Norwalk Assistant Law Director Scott Christophel said at Monday's bond hearing in Norwalk Municipal Court.

Knox's criminal history includes a failure-to-appear charge from 2012. Christophel also said the suspect had been charged with burglary through Vermilion Municipal Court, but it was "pleaded down to aggravated trespassing," a first-degree misdemeanor.

The sheriff's office received a call about Sunday's suspected incident at 2:31 a.m.

Detective Rich Larson assisted Sgts. Bill Duncan and Chuck Summers with the investigation, which remains ongoing.

"The victim is 28 years old. She is from out of the area," Larson said, referring to a woman who was staying at the victims' house.

Knox reportedly entered the residence and sexually assaulted a woman, the detective told the Reflector.

"He was not invited there in any shape or form," Larson said.

When asked how Knox reportedly entered the house, Larson said deputies received "conflicting information from other people at the house." The detective declined to elaborate due to the ongoing investigation.

"When he (Knox) was confronted by other people at the house, he fled. He was apprehended a short distance from the house," Larson said.

A sexual assault nurse examined and evaluated the suspected rape victim when she was transported to Firelands Regional Medical Center in Sandusky.

Deputies, who interviewed Knox, the suspected victims and some witnesses, will forward evidence to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation for testing.

"(Knox) had been drinking earlier that night," Larson said. "We have an admission from him he was in the house. ... Sgt. Duncan was the one who interviewed Mr. Knox."

Knox, when addressing his bond Monday, told Judge Eric Weisenburger he hasn't worked since May and since then, he's been helping his stepfather and mowing grass.

The defendant must post a $100,000 bond before being released from the Huron County Jail. He is prohibited from being on the premises of the victims' Clinton Road home. The Huron County Public Defender's Office has been appointed to represent Knox.

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