Norwalk rapist gets 15 years to life

In exchange for guilty plea, prosecutors drop one count of gross sexual imposition, four charges of sexual battery and three more rape charges.
Cary Ashby
Oct 17, 2013

A former Jefferson Street resident was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years to life for molesting a child who was younger than 10.

Jason P. Wooten, 36, pleaded guilty at the same Huron County Common Pleas Court hearing to one count of rape. As part of a plea deal, prosecutors agreed to dismiss one count of gross sexual imposition, four charges of sexual battery and three more rape charges.

"The balance of the indictment will be dismissed," Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler said about the plea agreement with defense attorney Tim Dempsey.

Wooten and his attorney declined to address the judge Wednesday.

Leffler said another part of the plea deal is the state agreed not to pursue further charges in connection with suspected incidents in Norwalk and Bellevue.

Leffler said his office had attempted to contact the victims or their custodians, but weren't able to do so. However, he said he contacted the social worker involved in the case and spoke to the lead investigator, Huron County Sheriff's Detective Kayla Zander, who said she was confident the victims would be comfortable with the outcome of Wooten's case.

"This individual (Wooten) had a prior sex offense, He knew what he was doing," Leffler said. "In fact, the victim is less than 10 years old. ... He couldn't help himself."

In the late 1990s, Wooten served three years in prison for felonious sexual battery. The conviction is through Cuyahoga County.

"When police were investigating the (local) matter, the defendant was cooperative and admitted he was involved in that activity," Leffler said.

Judge Jim Conway ruled there was "no force involved" in the rape of which Wooten was convicted.

Another suspect in the related case, Justin D. Collins, 20, also formerly of Jefferson Street, has a new trial date of Jan. 4. He waived his right to a speedy trial Tuesday after he obtained a new attorney, Nancy Jennings. Huron County Public Defender David Longo had been representing Collins, but according to court records, was removed from the case recently for an unspecified reason.

Collins is charged with three counts of rape in connection with incidents in late March and mid-April of this year and between December 2011 and March 2012. He also faces one charge of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor stemming from a mid-June offense. Collins remains in custody at the Huron County Jail, unable to post a $125,000 bond.

Conway, the judge, said Collins' new defense attorney requires more time to look over evidence in the "complex case." The judge also mentioned there have been "brief negotiations that are ongoing" with prosecutors.

Collins was arrested in July after Wooten brought two daughters of his live-in girlfriend to the sheriff's office to report ongoing sex abuse reportedly committed by Collins and an 11-year-old boy.

The boy has entered denials to three counts of rape, one charge of attempted rape and two counts of gross sexual imposition through Huron County Juvenile Court. He is on electronically-monitored house arrest and must undergo a psychiatric evaluation, according to court officials.

Investigators learned Wooten also had been sexually abusing the girls for years. He was taken into custody a few days after Collins was arrested.

Deputy Rich Larson, who helped investigate the case, has said Wooten "admitted to having sexual intercourse with both the (older) girls primarily at the Bellevue address and molesting the girls at the Norwalk address."

The two older girls told their mother they were being sexually abused by her live-in boyfriend, Wooten. The suspected incidents happened over a four-year period in Norwalk, Bellevue and possibly Lakewood. Juvenile court officials have said despite having that information, the mother didn't take any action to protect her children.

Leffler talked about the situation Wednesday in court. He said Wooten notified authorities about the sexual activity happening in his home, but neglected to mention "his own involvement."

Juvenile court administrator Chris Mushett gave an update to the Reflector this week about the living status of the various victims.

Mushett said two 10-year-old girls, who were found to be abused, are in the temporary custody of their father. Mushett also said a 3-year-old girl and two boys, ages 4 and 5, -- all whom have been found to be dependent -- are in the temporary custody of their maternal aunt. The children are under the protective service of the Huron County Department of Job and Family Services.

"There are three fathers and one mother involved in all this," Mushett said.

Sheriff Dane Howard has called this one of the most disturbing cases of his law-enforcement career.

"One of the most sickening things is (Wooten) brought two of the girls to this office ... in an apparent parental role," Howard said earlier. "All the while, he'd been hurting the children himself. I can't imagine what these children have gone through the last several years."

Comments

bizzmachine1965

prosecutors agreed to dismiss one count of gross sexual imposition, four charges of sexual battery and three more rape charges,just so they could get 1 count of rape charge on this scum.I think our prosecutors are not worth our votes either! Pray for prison justice ,there isnt any in our courts!

Jacobs-Mom

Please read my posted comment before saying anything else about my son's father

Kottage Kat

How can victims be comfortable knowing he will back.
This article makes me so angry
Leffler and his plea deal posse ride again

Sarrak

Kat: Not to defend Leffler but this guy got 15 to life. Parole boards are very reluctant to let sex offenders out at the minimum, especially when multiple victims are preteens. He'll probably do at least 20 if he lives that long. Had he been convicted of everything he was charged with the aggregate sentence would also have been 15 to life because of the way multiple sentences are handled unless they involve murder. If Ariel Castro had lived the proposed litigation over his sentence might have clarified this type of situation for the public.

Firelandsobserver

I agree.

truckin

Read other reply post on other article

cracked

This prosecutor always looks for the path of least resistance. Hopefully this man will rot in hell or become entertainment for the rest of inmates.This really makes me wonder if mandatory castration would be appropriate.This sick pile of garbage would be a good candidate for ball removal.Hope the children get the help they will need to recover.

dontcare

Leffler did the right thing, first of all the victims do not have to be put through the process of testifying, they may not of wanted to. Also the case may not of been that strong, without strong witness statements the jury may not of convicted, also chances are he would not of gotten consecutive sentences so this seems like the right thing to do.

Firelandsobserver

I agree.

Firelandsobserver

Some people have been watching too many episodes of "Oz". Sex offenders are separated from other types of prison inmates in order to monitor conduct, avoid inmate violence based on type offense and to provide special psychiatric treatment. Stating that the courts have "failed" and the prison will make "justice" is a reactive response probably based mostly on misunderstanding: The objective was to make sure that the suspect receive a sentence that would ensure his incarceration. A trial of multiple counts could be challenging to prove and could allow the suspect to receive a lighter sentence based on lack of evidence or victim participation in the trial due to the flagrancy of type of crime. Naturally, the public outcry from this type of report is one based on the assumption that the suspect was given a "gift" in exchange for admittance of guilt. These maneuvers are generally done when the prosecution may not have strong enough evidence or participating witnesses to properly convict the suspect. So in order to ensure a stronger sentence with an absolute conviction these types of plea deals are often made.

0_0

got shanked up..

gene44870

Public Defender David Longo for an unspecified reason.
I think I can set the record right , Just for everyones info , Longo was a lawyer for childrens services before he came to be with the public defenders office. Anyone with comoon sense would know if you are charged with a crime of this nature you are taken a hell of a chance having this type of lawyer represent yea. And even more if you are not guilty

AEversole

I think it was handled very well as firelands has stated. It is a real shoot of the dice going to a jury trial in this situation. This wast it is gaurenteed that he will do every bit of 15 years and most likely 20 plus. I mean there are plenty of murderer's that only get 15 to life, even though in my eyes what this poor excuse of a man did is far worse than your average murder in my eyes...., but as far as firelands take on protective custody, is a little misleading. There will be plenty of people in P C that are not cool with the ongoing rape of these little girls and it is still very possible that this loser can still have a real ruff time.... it wouldn't be the first time that s inmate in PC or segregation got there a$# beat or worse. And on top of that the gaurds tend to turn a blind eye in this type of situation, because of what you have done. Obviously firelands knows his legal stuff, but it doesn't appear he has been in the joint. Take my word for it miss Wooten will have it ruff and I guarantee he gets a little of what he deserves. More than likely he wont get killed or taped but I know he will get his face smashed in on a pretty regular basis

AEversole

I think it was handled very well as firelands has stated. It is a real shoot of the dice going to a jury trial in this situation. This wast it is gaurenteed that he will do every bit of 15 years and most likely 20 plus. I mean there are plenty of murderer's that only get 15 to life, even though in my eyes what this poor excuse of a man did is far worse than your average murder in my eyes...., but as far as firelands take on protective custody, is a little misleading. There will be plenty of people in P C that are not cool with the ongoing rape of these little girls and it is still very possible that this loser can still have a real ruff time.... it wouldn't be the first time that s inmate in PC or segregation got there a$# beat or worse. And on top of that the gaurds tend to turn a blind eye in this type of situation, because of what you have done. Obviously firelands knows his legal stuff, but it doesn't appear he has been in the joint. Take my word for it miss Wooten will have it ruff and I guarantee he gets a little of what he deserves. More than likely he wont get killed or taped but I know he will get his face smashed in on a pretty regular basis

AEversole

Sorry, I am using a touch screen, and I hit the send button twice on accident

AEversole

This stupid pad and its auto change ....it changes the words and spelling I did not know untill I sent it. I should have looked over it first. Sorry for so many spelling and grammer errors. It made it nearly impossible to read.

Jacobs-Mom

I am the mother of this man's 16yr old son, I spent 6 yrs with him and of course been in and out of his life since we have a son together...I have listened to what the public has to say and of course everyone is entitled to their thoughts and views but did anyone ever bother to think about if he has other children and how they are coping with this? My son is full of emotions about what his father has done and we don't condone it either but he knows he will never see his father again,but at the sametime has to deal with the harassment from kids about what his father has done. Do any of you know or understand what that does to a child regardless of his age then to read what everyone else is saying on here? All I am asking is please be a little sympathetic to the people that are involved with Jason's life on any level but more so to his children who have to read about this. Thank you.