June 27, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Man, 79, has rape trial delayed to undergo assessment

MEDINA — The trial of a 79-year-old Medina man accused of molesting two children, scheduled to start this week, was postponed for a second time to determine whether he’s mentally and physically fit to stand trial.

Robert D. Law, a notary who lives at 4898 Century Oak Circle, had his trial before Medina County Common Pleas Judge Christopher J. Collier delayed June 5 for the same reason.

Robert Law

Law is set to undergo a “geriatric assessment,” which defense attorney Matthew P. Gaeckle said “is necessary to present a proper defense,” according to court records.

Collier’s bailiff said the trial will be rescheduled once the assessment is complete.

Law is charged with three counts of raping a child under age 13, complicity to rape a child and a count of gross sexual imposition. All the charges are first-degree felonies except imposition, which is third-degree. If convicted, he could face life in prison.

Law is accused of molesting the children — who now are 24 and 27 years old — in the summers of 1989, 1994, 1996 and 1997, when they were between 3 and 8 years old.

He also is accused of aiding an unidentified person in raping one of the children in 1997.

At the time, Law was between 55 and 64 years old.

Law was arrested and charged in March after a four-month joint investigation by the Medina County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI.

His 78-year-old sister, who asked to remain anonymous to protect her family, said she couldn’t believe it when she heard about the charges.

“It took me really hard,” she said. “It’s hard for me to believe there’s anything to this.”

She said “Bobbie” was a widower and had children and grandchildren, and that he’d always been a family-oriented person.

She and Law grew up with an abusive father “on the other end of the tracks” during the Depression on Cleveland’s west side, she said.

When he was younger, Law would dig through the dump for Christmas presents and run paper routes, she said. When he grew up, he entered the U.S. Army and later succeeded in business.

“I’ve always had a high respect for Bobbie,” his sister said, “because he worked so hard to get to where he’s at.”

She said she didn’t think Law was capable of the violence he’s charged with, but said anything is possible.

“There’s a yin and yang in all of us. There’s good and bad,” she said. “I’m not saying he did it or didn’t do it. I just don’t know.”

Law is being held at the county jail on $1 million bond.

Contact reporter 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.