June 27, 2016

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Wife says girls are lying about sex assaults

MEDINA — The wife of a Montville Township man accused of sexually assaulting teenage girls testified Thursday that the girls were lying.

Darla Shank, who is married to Patrick J. Shank, 45, of 5170 Chippewa Road, said, “I wouldn’t be here right now if I believed any of them.”

Patrick Shank

Patrick Shank faces four third-degree felony counts: two each of sexual battery and unlawful sexual contact with a minor. He is also charged with two counts of contributing to the unruliness or delinquency of a minor, which are first-degree misdemeanors.

Three women testified Tuesday and Wednesday that Patrick Shank had sex with them against their will, sometimes while they were drunk with alcohol he provided. They were 13, 16 and 18 when the encounters occurred in 2008, they said. Some of them said that they were afraid to tell anyone about Shank’s assaults because he owned guns.

Darla Shank, however, told the jury that the girls were lying about the sexual assaults and that there was “absolutely no” time when any minors were given alcohol in her home. She also said some of the women who said her husband assaulted them never even stayed the night at the Shank home.

One of the women who testified Tuesday said that Darla and Pat Shank would give their four children “night pills” to help them sleep. The girl, 17, of York Township, testified that the children had taken those pills on the nights Shank forced her to have sex with him from 2008 to 2010.

On the stand Thursday, Darla Shank said there were no sleeping pills in the house.

Her testimony echoed that of Dr. David Mansour, the family’s physician, who testified Wednesday that he never prescribed such medication.

The prosecution, however, produced a document stating Darla Shank had been receiving a prescription for Ambien, a sleep agent, from her gynecologist since at least 2010.

Darla Shank later clarified that she thought the question pertained to the timeframe of her husband’s accused crimes.

Darla Shank, who works nights as a nurse, said her children always kept her informed of what was happening at home. She said there always was supervision, so there was no way the prosecution’s accusations could be true.

Several witnesses testified this week that underage drinking was common in the Shank household.

One woman said Wednesday that Shank tried to seduce her while she was there to play a drinking game in 2011. She said Shank’s youngest son, who was 9 or 10, was asleep on the bed at the time.

The prosecution asked Darla Shank how the woman could have known the boy slept in his parents’ bed if that never happened. She replied the woman could have seen the boy there while using the bathroom.

The prosecution provided a photo of the woman in question and Patrick Shank playing drinking games.

Darla Shank said she wasn’t sure the photo was taken in her home.

Six character witnesses — neighbors and family friends — also testified Thursday and said Patrick Shank was a loving and responsible husband and father. All of them said they had never been offered alcohol at the Shank home when younger than age 21. They also said they never saw Shank make inappropriate comments toward minors.

One of the witnesses, Kayla Thurman, 20, of Cleveland, said she never saw teens drinking alcohol at parties. The prosecution showed Thurman photos in which she, Shank and alcohol are present.

The defense rested its case Thursday. Patrick Shank did not testify.

Closing arguments are expected today. The trial resumes at 10 a.m.

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.