MARYSVILLE, OHIO — An Ohio National Guard member entered a not guilty plea Thursday to updated charges in a case alleging he sexually abused three adopted daughters and his stepdaughter and abruptly sent a fourth adopted daughter out of state. He also is accused of threatening the children in the family with a similar fate to keep them from talking about what they knew.
The 41-year-old Marysville man, who told a military publication years ago that he wanted to adopt a girl from Africa to protect her from rape, was originally charged last year. Thursday’s written not guilty plea led to the cancellation of a hearing Friday in Union County court on an updated indictment with 35 counts, including rape, sexual battery, gross sexual imposition, intimidation and tampering with evidence.
Court documents indicate the girls were under 13 at the time, with one as young as 5.
The defendant and his wife, who is accused of intimidation and obstruction but not abuse, entered not guilty pleas to the initial charges against them. The Associated Press isn’t naming them to protect the children’s identities.
Their attorneys aren’t commenting. A message was left with the Union County prosecutor handling the case.
Prosecutors allege in court documents that the man touched the girls in sexual ways and forced two of them to perform sex acts on him.
Prosecutors say the girls reported abuse to a different adoptive daughter, who shared that information with relatives and was sent away in July 2012. The man and his wife picked up the girl from a volunteering shift and put her on a flight to Idaho against her will, without a chance to get her belongings, according to the limited details described in court documents.
At a park before church the following Sunday, the couple gathered their remaining children — nine of them, include the four accusers — and told them that there were false statements being made about the man and that any child who discussed those matters “would go away” like the other girl, prosecutors said in court documents.