April 20, 2014

Partly cloudy

Rape charges dropped in plea deal

Joseph Thomas

MEDINA — A 28-year-old Cleveland man who was charged with raping a Brunswick woman in April pleaded guilty Monday to a reduced charge of assault.

Joseph W. Thomas was convicted of aggravated assault, a fourth-degree felony punishable by up to 1½ years in prison. He originally was charged with two counts of rape, first-degree felonies with maximum penalties of 11 years in prison each.

Medina County Common Pleas Judge James L. Kimbler scheduled Thomas for a Jan. 16 sentencing hearing.

An alleged accomplice, Christopher T. Willard, 25, of Strongsville, is charged with identical crimes. He awaits a Jan. 6 trial in Kimbler’s court.

County Prosecutor Dean Holman could not be reached for comment on the case.