In what Huron County Sheriff Dane Howard is calling one of the most disturbing cases of his law-enforcement career, another Norwalk man has been implicated in the alleged sexual misconduct with at least two local girls.
Jason Wooten, 36, of 37 Jefferson St., is currently in custody at the Huron County Jail.
Earlier this week, the man brought two of his live-in girlfriend’s daughters to the sheriff’s office so they could report ongoing sex abuse committed by a teen and boy. Investigators later learned Wooten, too, had been sexually abusing the girls for years and eventually admitted to such, Howard said.
The sheriff summarized this week.
“Over the past several days, our detective bureau and deputies have investigated multiple felony sex acts against children,” the sheriff said, specifically against girls ages 13 and 10, but also including two other girls, ages 8 and 6.
Howard said Wooten’s charges relate to the 13- and 10-year-olds.
“Two days ago, Detective Kayla Zander and Deputy Rich Larson were the primary investigators of the initial arrest of Justin Collins and an 11-year-old boy,” the sheriff said.
Collins, 19, also of 37 Jefferson St., faces charges of rape and unlawful activity with a minor charge for his alleged involvement with these same girls.
The 11-year-old boy, who also has been accused of improper sexual acts with the girls, has been placed in the custody of a relative. (NOTE: To read the first story about Collins and the 11-year-old, click HERE.)
“Through the detectives follow-up investigation with the victims, it was learned another individual (Wooten) had been sexually assaulting them for quite some time,” Howard said.
Howard said these assaults allegedly occurred in Bellevue and Norwalk, and also possibly in Lakewood.
Howard said Wooten was the girls’ mother’s live-in boyfriend.
Through several hours of interviews by Howard, Zander and Larson, the sheriff said Wooten admitted to the sexual acts.
“Initially he lied, but later admitted to the crimes,” Howard said.
“One of the most sickening things is he (Wooten) brought two of the girls to this office two days ago in an apparent parental role,” he said. “All the while, he’d been hurting the children himself. I can’t imagine what these children have gone through the last several years.”
“Mr. Wooten admitted to having sexual intercourse with both the girls (13 and 10) primarily at the Bellevue address and molesting the girls at the Norwalk address,” Larson said.
Larson said this investigation is ongoing and expects more arrests and possibly more victims to come forward before it is complete.
Howard praised the work of Zander, Larson and Children’s Services.
“The detectives and deputy worked in a 20-hour section, slept four hours, and then came in and did it all again,” he said.
Zander, who has been in the detective bureau for six months, said the investigating is complicated.
“It’s always a blessing to get people like this off the streets,” she said.
Wooten had served three years in prison in the late 1990s into the early 2000s in Cuyahoga County for felonious sexual battery.
“He was registered as a sex offender for 10 years, 2001 to 2011.
He moved to Huron County in 2008, according to sheriff’s office records.
According to Norwalk Municipal Court records, Wooten’s bond was set at $100,000 on the third-degree felony charge of gross sexual imposition. He is not permitted to have contact with individuals under the age of 18.
Wooten’s preliminary hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. Aug. 1 at municipal court.
Wooten likely will be arraigned on several other charges, including rape, in Bellevue Municipal Court for the offenses in that city. Court personnel said Thursday that hearing won’t occur until Monday.