Guilty verdict in Perrysburg rape case

Tinkesh Valsadi was found guilty Thursday of raping a woman at the former Best Western Motel in
Perrysburg in July or August of 2007.
The case posed some interesting challenges for the jury as the accusations were not made by the victim
until approximately a year after the incident. Consequently, there was no physical evidence.
Defense called it a "made-up story."
Valsadi, 37, of Canton, was working at the time with a contractor doing maintenance work at the motel.
The victim, a woman of similar age, was an employee of the facility.
Heather Baker, an assistant prosecutor for Wood County, told the jury of five women and seven men that
the reason for the delay was natural for a victim of sexual assault. She also explained the delay was
partly in fear of losing her job – which did happen after she made the accusations last summer.
Baker indicated there were unusual circumstances regarding the termination, but it was believed it was
somehow linked to the allegations.
Baker said Valsadi considered the victim "just a piece of property."
The jury delivered its verdict around 7:30 p.m. after nearly five hours of deliberation.
Following the verdict, two jurors shared some of their reasons for the conviction. Both indicated one of
the key factors was the taped recording of Valsadi as he was interrogated by the investigator.
"You could tell he was lying," said Stewart T. Orr, a juror who lives in Bowling Green.
Orr also did not give any credibility to the testimony of the owner of the motel at the time. During the
trial there was conflicting testimony as to the depth of the friendship between the owner and the
defendant – at times called best friends, also merely business acquaintances.
Rev. Kristel Asmus, another juror of Bowling Green, concurred with the apparent discrepancies between
testimony and what was heard on the tapes.
"He was very inconsistent," Asmus added.
In addition, during the trial, Valsadi admitted to lying to the investigator.
The victim testified during the trial how Valsadi had met her and another woman in the motel’s laundry
room. After the other woman left, the victim was assisting Valsadi by holding his room door open, when
he pulled her into the room and assaulted her.
Baker refreshed the jury’s mind in her closing, telling of a second assault within minutes as he forced
her to remain in the room.
"You heard the testimony," Baker said. "He told her, ‘I’m not finished with you
yet.’" She indicated such a remark showed his attitude of treating her "just like
property."
Defense attorney Stevin Groth had emphasized during his closing remarks, "This simply did not
happen."
Groth also attempted to discredit one witness for the prosecution as a "jailhouse snitch" and
told the jury of the witness’ crime which landed him in jail.
Baker countered with the fact the "snitch" had details about the incident which he only could
have received from Valsadi. That detailed information included the victim’s name and physical details.

For Orr, that "corroborating testimony" was a key factor.
Baker told the jury the witness in question had no reward for his testimony and served his full time in
jail.
Both sides called for jurors to use their common sense – the defense arguing "it does not make
sense," while the prosecution argued the need for the jury to use "good reasoning."
Following the verdict, Baker said, "It’s obvious the jury took their obligation seriously,"
noting delayed allegations can be troubling.
"We’re obviously disappointed with the verdict," Groth said. "But ultimately our jury
system is the best system."
Valsadi was held at the Wood County jail on $500,000 cash bond. With the rape conviction, a first-degree
felony, he is facing a mandatory three to 10 years in prison.
A pre-sentence investigation will be conducted.
Groth also indicated an appeal is likely.