Attorneys for Perrysburg boys ask for fairness

PERRYSBURG – The attorneys for two boys initially charged with rape said that amended charges were agreed to and inaccurate stories are being told in the community.

“Neither child entered a plea of guilty,” said an emailed statement from Jon Paul Rion, of Rion, Rion & Rion, and Eric Long, Friedman & Nemecek LLC.

“Based upon the facts, the parties, which included the Wood County Prosecutor’s Office, determined that the appropriate resolution should include an eventual dismissal of this matter.

“The children are not convicted felons, nor are they adjudicated as sex offenders,” the statement, which was emailed Wednesday, said.

About 100 angry parents and community members, concerned about the boys being in school and playing in sports, on Monday asked the Perrysburg Board of Education for more action.

Superintendent Tom Hosler said the board cannot keep the boys out of school.

“We’re in a difficult position, because when a court order is given to school districts, whether it’s Perrysburg or anywhere else, we’re obligated to follow that court order,” Hosler said. “We’re very limited in terms of the reasons how and why we can keep students out of school.”

The lawyers for the boys said that the terms of agreement are being inaccurately reported.

“As the stories circulating throughout the community are portraying a false narrative, it is understandable that some in the community would express varying levels of concern,” they said. “The Wood County Juvenile Court, with the participation of every interested person, approved this agreement recognizing that it served the best interest of all children involved.”

Earlier this month, rape charges were amended against two Perrysburg juveniles.

The two boys, who are now 14 and 13, appeared in Wood County Juvenile Court.

The 14-year-old admitted to the two amended charges of gross sexual imposition.

The 13-year-old pleaded guilty to pandering obscenities of a minor.

The agreements were reached between the Wood County Prosecutor’s Office, the defense attorneys and the attorneys for the victims, said Bridget Ansberg, executive director of the Wood County Juvenile Court.

On March 8, the Perrysburg Police Division was made aware of an alleged sexual assault that occurred in November. It was also reported that part of the incident was possibly recorded.

As soon as the allegation was reported, Perrysburg police detectives started an investigation.

According to Ansberg, for the next two years, both juveniles shall have no contact with the victims and their families and be subject to supervised probation at the discretion of the juvenile court’s probation department.

They also must complete sexual offender assessment and follow any recommended treatments.

The boys may have no unsupervised access to the internet, have no social media, have no unsupervised contact with minors their age or younger and comply with all reasonable requests of their parents, school and all laws of the community.

Gross sexual imposition is defined as when a person engages in sexual contact with another individual against their will. It is a fourth-degree felony.

Pandering obscenity of a minor occurs when a person creates, reproduces, buys, sells, advertises for sale, publicly distributes, or displays any obscene material of a juvenile. It is a second-degree felony.

The original charges included rape and pandering. They were both 13 years old at the time.

The two have been on electronic monitoring and home confinement since being charged in March. Now, the probation department will set their curfew, Ansberg said.

Statement from the school district

A statement with more specific court and school related details was issued by the Perrysburg Schools administration in regards to the two boys that were the subject of questions from the public at the Monday board meeting.

“I can understand that it’s a little bit challenging for families and community members to understand the interaction between all the families involved, the prosecutor’s office, the judge and the probation office, and how those arrangements, that plea deal, intersects with the schools. What we hope to do is give to the families what is the district’s responsibility in reacting to the court order,” Superintendent Tom Hosler said. “We spent time reviewing our plans to comply with the court order, with the prosecutor’s office, as well as the probation department, with an attempt to make sure what takes place before school, during school, after school and activities, relative to this court order.”

The district sent out a letter to parents Tuesday evening that addressed issues, “as legally permitted,” that were brought up during the public comments at the board meeting.

“The school district had no role in developing the plea agreement, and was not informed of the terms of the court order until after the order was issued,” the letter stated.

Also included were the federal and state requirements of the district.

“My growing concern is how this public debate will impact each of these students, their families and the school community. I know there may be some who read that line and ask, ‘Then why did the schools let the juveniles return to school?’ My response is that we must defer to the judge, the prosecutor and those families who agreed to the terms of this plea agreement,” Hosler said in the statement.

He also reiterated the legal need to maintain privacy and confidentiality for all students involved and urged continued empathy during a difficult time.