from the Holmes County Court of Common Pleas, Case No.
Plaintiff-Appellee ROBERT K. HENDRIX Assistant Prosecuting
Defendant-Appellant ERIC J. ALLEN The Law Office of Eric J.
JUDGES: Hon. William B. Hoffman, P.J Hon. John W. Wise, J.
Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, J.
Defendant-appellant Robert C. Bowen appeals his convictions
and sentence entered by the Holmes County Court of Common
Pleas, on one count of rape and four counts of sexual
battery, following a jury trial. Plaintiff-appellee is the
state of Ohio.
OF THE CASE AND FACTS
On June 4, 2018, the Holmes County Grand Jury indicted
Appellant on one count of rape, in violation of R.C.
2907.02(A)(2) and (B), a felony of the first degree; and four
counts of sexual battery, in violation of R.C. 2907.03(A)(5)
and (B), felonies of the third degree. The charges arose from
incidents involving Appellant's adopted daughter
("the Child"). Appellant appeared before the trial
court for arraignment on June 12, 2018, and entered pleas of
not guilty to all of the charges.
The matter proceeded to jury trial on January 28, 2019. The
following evidence was adduced at trial.
Mary Bowen testified she and Appellant were married on July
4, 2011. Although they were still legally married at the time
of the trial, Bowen indicated they had been separated for
over a year. Bowen and Appellant became foster parents to the
Child in September, 2012, and the child's sister in
November, 2012. Bowen and Appellant adopted both children on
March 24, 2014. Bowen conceded the Child and her sister had
Bowen explained the Child and her sister were homeschooled
after the Child's sister called in a bomb threat to her
elementary school. Bowen worked six days a week, usually from
7:30 a.m. to 5:30 or 6:00 p.m., but worked close enough to
their home to check on the children during her lunch hour.
In June, 2016, when the Child was 15 years old, she disclosed
to Bowen Appellant had touched her inappropriately. Bowen
explained the Child had snuck out of the house around
midnight one evening to meet a 19 or 20 year old young man,
and did not return until 3:30 a.m. Bowen confronted the
Child, telling her the young man would get in trouble if she
(Bowen) called the police. The Child responded Bowen should
call the police about Appellant as he had touched her. Bowen
questioned Appellant, who denied any wrongdoing. The Child
later told Bowen she was lying. The Child returned to public
school in September, 2017.
In January, 2018, after the Child's sister set a number
of fires, Children's Services became involved with the
family. The Child's sister told Children's Services
Appellant had been abusing her and the Child. When
Children's Services questioned the Child regarding her
sister's disclosure, the Child denied any abuse by
Bowen recalled the Child attended her prom the weekend of
April 21, 2018. When the Child was at school the following
Monday, the Child disclosed Appellant had been abusing her.
Bowen was instructed to bring the Child to Children's
Services and thereafter learned about the Child's
disclosure. Bowen was contacted by Victim's Assistance
and was informed Appellant had confessed.
The Child testified, when she was 15 years old, Appellant
entered her bedroom and touched her breasts over her
clothing. Appellant instructed her not to tell her mother.
The Child recalled it was the summer and she was sick. The
Child detailed another incident which occurred when she was
still 15. She noted she was being homeschooled at the time
and needed help with algebra. The Child proceeded to
Appellant's bedroom which was located in the basement of
the home. Appellant began to help her with her math, but then
pushed her onto his bed and removed her clothes. Appellant
vaginally penetrated her. Appellant told the Child not to
tell anyone or he would not be her father anymore. Appellant
also threatened to do the same to the Child's sister if
the Child told anyone. After the incident, the Child
hurriedly put on her clothes and returned upstairs to finish
her schoolwork. The Child testified Appellant had sexual
intercourse with her at least five times. Shortly before the
Child turned 16, she disclosed the abuse to Bowen. The Child
admitted she later told Bowen she had made "the whole
thing up". Tr. at 128.
The Child testified, in January, 2018, she spoke with a
detective and a social worker after the Child's sister
had set a few fires in their home. The detective and the
social worker questioned the Child about Appellant, but she
did not disclose the abuse at that time. The Child disclosed
the abuse to her boyfriend and a friend the night of her
prom, April 21, 2018. The following Monday, the Child met
with Ms. Gilson, the school liaison, and told the woman what
Appellant had done to her. Ms. Gilson informed the Child she
was required to contact the authorities. When the Child
returned home from school, Bowen met her at the bus and told
her Children's Services needed to speak with her. The
Child met with Jacqueline Shaw and disclosed the abuse.
Sergeant James Henry, a detective with the Holmes County
Sheriff's Office, testified he interviewed Appellant on
May 10, 2018. The interview was recorded and the recording
was played for the jury. During the interview, Appellant
confessed to having a sexual relationship with the Child.
Det. Henry acknowledged the Child, during an interview on
January 9, 2018, initially denied any sexual contact with
Appellant. The detective explained it is not unusual for the
victim of sexual abuse to initially not disclose the abuse
occurred, but subsequently, after counseling, is able to do
Appellant testified on his own behalf. He explained he was
contacted by Det. Lay of the Millersburg Police Department,
who requested Appellant come to the station to speak with
him. Appellant phoned Det. Lay and the two spoke on the
telephone for an hour. During the conversation, the detective
set up a computerized voice stress analyzer
("CVSA"). Several weeks later, in February, 2018,
Appellant was interviewed by Det. Lay. Appellant and the
detective spoke for two hours, including the time conducting
the CVSA. Appellant did not hear from the detective again.
On April 24, 2018, the Tuesday following the Child's
prom, Appellant received a message he needed to call Job and
Family Services. He was instructed to contact Det. Henry.
When Appellant initially sat down with Det. Henry, he assumed
he was being questioned about the situation with the
Child's sister. Appellant was shocked by the allegations.
Appellant denied confessing to Det. Henry and denied abusing
After hearing all the evidence and deliberating, the jury
found Appellant guilty of all five counts contained in the
Indictment. The trial court sentenced Appellant ...