Rossford man loses appeal on rape charges

A Rossford man sentenced to life in prison for multiple rapes has again lost an appeal.

Michael C. Horn, 49, was indicted in March 2014 for six counts of rape, all first-degree felonies.

According to the indictment, the charges relate to three incidents allegedly occurring between Aug. 1 and Dec. 24, 2013, involving two separate girls.

Two of the rapes involved a girl who turned 14 during the time of the allegations and one case involved a 15-year-old.

All three acts were committed after Horn purposely compelled the child to submit by force or threat of force and he knew their ability to resist or consent was substantially impaired because of mental or physical condition.

All three acts, with six charges, carried sexually violent predator specifications.

That case was dismissed without prejudice on Nov. 17, 2015, after a bill of information was filed Nov. 4, 2014, with the same allegations.

A bill of information is used when a defendant, while not admitting a crime, concedes to allowing the charges move forward without having the grand jury return an indictment.

A jury in March 2016 found Horn guilty of all six charges.

In July 2016, a bench trial was held on the sexually violent predator specifications included with each of the six counts of rape. The verdict was the state had proven beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant had committed a sexually violent offense and that defendant was likely to engage in the future in one or more sexually violent offenses.

For purposes of sentencing, the state merged three of the charges.

Wood County Common Pleas Judge Matt Reger, on Sept. 13, 2016, imposed 10 years to life for each of the remaining three charges.

The sentences were to be served consecutively for a mandatory prison term of 30 years to life.

Horn shall be classified as a Tier III sexual offender upon his release, which will require him to register every 90 days for life.

He appealed, and in March 2018, the 6th District Court of Appeals upheld the sentence.

It rejected Horn’s arguments, which included the state had not supplied sufficient evidence that the victims’ ability to resist or consent were substantially impaired, because of his relationship with her.

In August 2018, the Ohio Supreme Court ordered the appeals court to reconsider its earlier findings. It remanded the case back to the local level for resentencing on one count after determining a familial relationship was not a mental or physical condition necessary to establish substantial impairment.

The appeals court reconsidered the one rape conviction overturned by the state Supreme Court and concluded that the state had presented sufficient evidence to support the conviction and overruled Horn’s objection in June 2020.

But since the state Supreme Court had reversed that one count, the case was remanded for resentencing in Wood County.

Horn again filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court in July 2020. The court denied reconsidering the case.

Horn was resentenced on Aug. 24, 2021, for 10 years to life on the rape count that was appealed.

He appealed the resentencing, and on Jan. 18, the court of appeals by majority upheld the common pleas court’s ruling.