April 18, 2014

Mostly cloudy

Man cleared of rape, but back in jail

MEDINA — A 20-year-old Florida man who was released from jail after a Medina County judge acquitted him on rape charges Friday was arrested again two hours later because a grand jury indicted him on a felony vandalism count.

Ivan L. Ray IV, of Freeport, Fla., is accused of breaking a window in his jail cell.

Common Pleas Judge Christopher J. Collier found Ray not guilty of raping two teenage Wadsworth girls in December 2011. The girls, now 17 and 19, burst into tears at the judge’s verdict.

Ray was charged with two counts of forcible rape, first-degree felonies punishable by 11 years in prison each. He chose to be tried by the judge rather than a jury.

Collier said it took him a month to reach a decision because he wanted time to look over transcripts from the trial and was delayed because of conferences he attended in the past couple weeks. He declined to elaborate on his verdict.

At Ray’s three-day trial, which ended Nov. 20, the teenagers said they met Ray on Facebook and went on different days to the home of Ray’s family friend, where he was staying.

The girls said in both cases, Ray forced himself on them while no one else was home.

During closing arguments, defense attorney Kristopher Aupperle argued there was no physical evidence to substantiate rape and the girls’ testimony wasn’t credible because they kept in contact with Ray afterward and didn’t go to police for more than six months.

Aupperle also said Wadsworth police Detective Dawn Schismenos erred by allowing the girls to sit in on each other’s police interviews.

County Assistant Prosecutor Scott Salisbury said during his closing arguments that the girls’ behavior was understandable because they were so young.

Ray spent 5 1/2 months in jail before his release Friday. His freedom was short-lived: Judge James L. Kimbler issued an arrest warrant within hours following a Thursday indictment on the vandalism charge, a fifth-degree felony punishable by up to a year in prison.

Vandalism is normally a misdemeanor, but becomes a felony when damage is done to a government building.

Sheriff’s deputies reported Ray “used a bolt that he removed from a shelf in his cell to break the exterior window of his cell” on Nov. 8.

Ray was being held in the county jail on $15,000 bond and no arraignment date had been set in Kimbler’s court Friday afternoon.

Aupperle said he was told a couple weeks ago that his client may face more charges. He declined to comment on the vandalism case, saying he only had been appointed Ray’s attorney for the rape case.

Aupperle said he and his client were glad the judge ruled in their favor, but declined to comment further.

“I know my client is happy with the decision,” Aupperle said, “and I know he’s looking forward to getting back to Florida.”

County Prosecutor Dean Holman said he doesn’t question the judge’s verdict.

“The system worked,” Holman said. “He got his trial and the judge found him not guilty. He’s a good judge and we accept his ruling.”

Holman said the vandalism charge stemmed from an incident before the rape trial even began.

“Sheriff’s deputies referred us this charge independently,” he said. “This wasn’t revenge.”

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