July 23, 2016

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Montville Twp. man accused of sex with minor is on trial

MEDINA — The fate of a Montville Township man relies largely on whether the jury believes the testimony of teenagers who say he sexually molested them.

Patrick J. Shank, 45, of 5170 Chippewa Road, pleaded not guilty in July to two third-degree felony charges of sexual battery and unlawful sexual contact with a minor, as well as two first-degree misdemeanor charges of contributing to the unruliness or delinquency of a minor.

Patrick Shank

Prosecutors accuse Shank of forcing a 17-year-old York Township girl to have sex with him in his home four times between 2008 and 2010.

On the witness stand Tuesday, the girl testified that during some of the encounters, she was drunk with alcohol he provided. Prior to their first encounter, she said he exposed himself to her and asked her inappropriate, sexual questions.

Defense attorney Kenneth Lewis told the jury in his opening statements not to believe the girl’s testimony.

“Let me be clear,” Lewis said. “These events, these encounters that the prosecution describes, did not happen.”

During jury selection, Lewis asked potential jurors whether they believe teenagers could lie about something as serious as sexual assault.

The prosecution is offering no medical or physical evidence against Shank.

County Assistant Prosecutor Scott Salisbury asked them whether they would be able to find a man guilty beyond a reasonable doubt without medical evidence.

The only evidence besides witness testimony are photographs of Shank involved in playing drinking games with minors or underage adults.

In her testimony Tuesday, the girl said that Shank threw at least 10 parties between 2008 and 2011 for minors, adults younger than age 21 and Shank’s friends. Sometimes, as many as 20 people attended, she said.

During at least one party, the girl said Shank showed the teens a pistol he kept in the house.

“He was a cool parent,” she said. “He was acting like a teenager.”

Shank is married and has four children 11 to 20 years old. He is the lead singer in a heavy metal band.

At the trial, Shank visibly was upset at the girl’s testimony, shaking his head but remaining silent.

Lewis asked the girl why she would continue to visit Shank’s home if these things were happening.

She said she was close friends with one of Shank’s sons, and that she did not want to lose her “only real friend.”

Under cross examination, Lewis focused many of his questions on identifying inconsistencies between the girl’s testimony and police interviews. He also asked about her sexual exploits and credibility.

Lewis produced an interview with one of Shank’s sons, who was her close friend, in which the boy claimed the girl told him she could “lie about being raped” to make sure Shank does not yell at his children anymore.

The girl denied saying that.

She was the only witness the jury heard Tuesday.

The grand jury’s indictment named the 17-year-old as the victim involved in five of charges against Shank. One of the delinquency charges names a second girl, who has not yet given testimony.

There are at least two other teenage girls who may give testimony today. Two were interviewed without the jury present Tuesday. Common Pleas Judge Christopher J. Collier will decide today whether the jury should hear their testimony.

The prosecution asserts Shank engaged in sexual battery in July or August 2008 and on Feb. 7, 2009, and in unlawful sexual conduct with a minor in April or May 2010 and July or August of the same year.

The date is about June 9, 2011, for both delinquency charges.

Contact Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.

Nick Glunt About Nick Glunt

Nick Glunt primarily covers courts and crime in Medina County. He served The Gazette from September 2012 to December 2015. Contact him at (330) 721-4048 or via email at nglunt@medina-gazette.com.