John L. Hofacker, 39, of 134 W. Main St., was charged with unlawful restraint, a third-degree misdemeanor. He was transported to the Huron County Jail, but was released later.
“There are additional charges pending,” New London Police Chief Mike Marko said. “There are definitely additional charges.”
Police received a 9-1-1 call at 5:23 p.m. “about a 13-year-old being dragged through a parking lot,” Marko said. Officers arrived at 134 W. Main St., which is near New London Lanes, one minute later. The parking lot is a mix of asphalt and gravel.
“She was actually drug to an abandoned building on the property,” Marko said.
Hofacker, according to the police report, told officers “I tied her up. She was trying to run away. I tied her up and I was about to call you.”
Marko said the girl was restrained with zip ties, “almost like she was hogtied.”
“She could not stand up,” the chief added.
Photos taken by police of the girl and restraints show the teen’s wrists and ankles were tied together separately in front of her and then connected with more zip ties. She had dark, significant bruises on her back side, leg, arms, wrists and face. The girl was sitting on her bottom when the photos were taken. Marko estimated there was a hole in the back of the girl’s shirt that was four inches wide.
“I can’t think of any reason you would have to discipline a child like that,” the chief said. “That’s not discipline; that’s torture.”
In addition to the zip ties, there was an allegation that Hofacker placed a belt around his daughter’s neck. Police confiscated the item and used a special instrument to cut the zip ties off the girl’s wrists and feet.
“We could not confirm that (belt allegation) because we didn’t see any bruises,” Marko said.
When police arrived, Hofacker was standing outside of a building.
“He was out of breath actually. It was obvious there was a struggle involved,” Marko said. “The only thing he said before he lawyered up was he didn’t want her to run away and he was going to call police.”
Firelands Ambulance Service responded to West Main Street with police.
“They treated her at the scene and transported her to Fisher-Titus (Medical Center),” Marko said.
Since the girl had lived in Erie County before moving to New London, police contacted Erie County Children Services. An agency representative was at Fisher-Titus.
“They were on top of their game,” said Marko, who noted Huron County Children Services also was involved because there were other children in the New London home.
After being treated at the hospital, the girl was released to Erie County authorities.
Officers interviewed two witnesses.
“There were actually two people who saw what happened,” Marko said. “(Their statements) were consistent with the injuries and what the victim stated.”
While Hofacker said his daughter was being unruly Friday, Marko said police never had received similar reports about the girl and there were no reported abuse allegations against her father.
“I guess she’s been in and out of a detention home,” the chief added. “She was (living) with her grandparents. They had custody of her until last Monday.”
Police receive five to six unruliness calls in New London per month.
“When the child is being unruly, it’s OK to call the police. We can help; we can intercede. I don’t know of any police department that wouldn’t come and assist. That’s what we’re here for,” Marko said.