Megan Walls, who’s now 22, took the witness stand Tuesday in the second trial of her father — 54-year-old Michael Walls. The trial is in Judge Beverly McGookey’s court at the county’s common pleas court.
She testified at length about how her father allegedly raped her, sometimes multiple times a week, kept her out of school and didn’t let her go out and have friends. Megan Walls said when she was younger that she didn’t know that was unusual.
“I’d read things in the news about pedophiles and wouldn’t know what to think of it,” she testified. “It was normal to me.”
The Register does not normally identify rape victims. But Megan Walls, after consulting with a county victim’s advocate, asked for her name and photo to be included in the Register’s news coverage of her father’s trial. She and her victim’s advocate told the Register that, as a victim, allowing the newspaper to publish her identity would be empowering.
Megan Walls’ testimony took up most of the second day of Micheal Walls’ trial Tuesday.
Michael Walls went to trial in 2016 in Erie County on 24 felony rape charges relating to allegations made by Megan Walls. A jury convicted him and Judge Roger Binette sentenced him to eight life terms in prison, plus an additional 68 years.
But in 2018, Michael Walls won an appeal, and an Ohio appeals court reversed his conviction and demanded he have a new trial. The appeals court ruled an expert witness improperly testified to their opinion, beyond the scope of their written report.
At the trial Tuesday, Megan Walls testified her father raped her at two different homes they lived in — one in Berlin Heights and the other in Sandusky. She also testified that her father did not enroll her in school — he allegedly told her that school would “brainwash” her.
She also testified he largely kept her from leaving their home without him, and she didn’t have friends as a result.
Megan Walls testified Michael Walls told her not to tell anyone about the alleged rapes.
She described following her father’s instructions because she was “scared.”
Even when police and children services investigators came to their home in 2013, Megan Walls said she tried being “rude” to “scare” investigators away out of fear of what would happen to her, her siblings and her father.
“I remember being so upset,” Megan Walls testified.
After Michael Walls took Megan and her brother to Florida after the investigation began in 2013, Florida law enforcement took Michael Walls into custody. Megan Walls testified she and her brother were placed into foster care in different parts of Ohio after their father’s arrest.
The trial experienced a delay in the afternoon because several jurors said they saw Michael Walls handcuffed in an elevator as a deputy took him out of the courtroom during the lunch break. Both assistant Erie County prosecutor Paulette Lilly and defense attorney John Toth disused, with McGookey, if this negatively affected Michael Walls and if it was enough to declare a mistrial.
After interviewing jurors, several of whom said they saw Michael Walls handcuffed but said it wouldn’t affect their verdicts, McGookey decided to proceed and not declare a mistrial.
Megan Walls continued her testimony Wednesday morning.