November 25, 2014

Medina
Partly cloudy
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Woman testifies she saw accused rapist sexually abusing her friend

Accused rapist and convicted sex offender Patrick Shank, center, listens as Medina County Common Pleas Judge James Kimbler rules to allow testimony from Shank's previous trial in this week's trial. His attorneys, Elizabeth Kelley and Richard Lillie, are also pictured. His third attorney, Gretchen Holderman, is not pictured. (NICK GLUNT / GAZETTE)

Accused rapist and convicted sex offender Patrick Shank, center, listens as Medina County Common Pleas Judge James Kimbler rules to allow testimony from Shank’s previous trial in this week’s trial. His attorneys, Elizabeth Kelley and Richard Lillie, are also pictured. His third attorney, Gretchen Holderman, is not pictured. (NICK GLUNT / GAZETTE)

A Medina woman testified Tuesday that she once walked in on a man “raping” her best friend when they were teenagers.

She identified the man as Patrick Shank, 47, who is on trial on 12 counts of rape. If convicted, he could face up to 11 years in prison on each first-degree felony count.

Shank already is serving a six-year sentence on two counts of sexual battery and a count of unlawful sexual conduct with a York Township girl when she was between 13 and 15 years old.

Shank, formerly of Montville Township, now is accused of raping a neighborhood girl more than 100 times from 2003 to 2005 when she also was 13 to 15 years old.

On Tuesday, the second day of the trial, the Medina woman’s best friend testified that the two of them would accompany Shank and his heavy metal band to various venues and would be provided alcohol.

Patrick Shank

Patrick Shank

“Since we were with the band, they’d just assume we were of age and slap wristbands on us without checking our IDs,” the woman said. “If someone asked, somebody in the band would vouch for us.”

She said she didn’t think it was a problem until May 8, 2004 — when she saw Shank rape her friend.

“Now why do you remember that date?” county Assistant Prosecutor Scott Salisbury asked.

“Because that was the day I lost my virginity and when I witnessed Pat raping (my friend),” she said.

She and her friend were at a concert for the band, Not of This Earth, the woman said. They became intoxicated, and she said Shank and another member of the band took them to an apartment in Cuyahoga County.

There, she said, they continued to drink until she was the drunkest she had ever been. She was 14 years old at the time.

She said she was led into a bedroom by the other band member and he had sex with her. She estimated he was about 35 years old at the time.

When she left the room, she said, “I could see Pat between (my friend)’s legs, with his pants down, and he was holding her hands down,” she said. “She did not sound like she was enjoying herself.”

She said she couldn’t remember exactly what happened next because she was so drunk.

Her story closely matched an account by the victim, a now-24-year-old Medina Township woman who testified Monday.

There were some inconsistencies, such as where the alleged sex act happened in the apartment.

Defense attorney Richard Lillie asked the best friend why there might be inconsistencies.

“I was very, very drunk,” she said.

Montville Township police Detective Angela Vivo identifies photos she took during her investigation into allegations that Patrick Shank raped a Montville Township teenager from 2003 to 2005. Also pictured is Medina County Assistant Prosecutor Scott Salisbury. (NICK GLUNT / GAZETTE)

Montville Township police Detective Angela Vivo identifies photos she took during her investigation into allegations that Patrick Shank raped a Montville Township teenager from 2003 to 2005. Also pictured is Medina County Assistant Prosecutor Scott Salisbury. (NICK GLUNT / GAZETTE)

She testified the woman later told her that it wasn’t the first time Shank had raped her and begged her not to tell anyone.

The next person the best friend told was her mother, who also testified Tuesday.

Her mother said she always suspected Shank was inappropriate with her daughter, but could never prove it.

“It was mother’s intuition,” she said. “He didn’t do anything that seemed to be inappropriate. I just got a feeling.”

She recalled on the stand one instance when her daughter came home from one of Shank’s concerts and seemed to walking strangely. Her daughter told her that her knees hurt and she then took a bath to relax.

The mother said she went outside and did some yard work and her daughter was still in the bathtub when she came back inside.

“I knocked on the door and asked if she was all right,” she said. “(My daughter) said she wanted some privacy, and I could hear that she was crying.”

She said her daughter went to sleep and said she felt fine when she woke up.

“So I just thought it was her knees,” she said.

Later, she said, a neighbor told her Shank was looking at her daughter inappropriately. That’s when she confronted her daughter.

“I asked her if he ever touched her and she said, ‘No, that’s disgusting,’ ” she testified. “I told her, ‘If he ever touches you, I’ll kill him.’ ”

She then called Shank on the phone and asked him directly. She said Shank said he thought of the girl as his own daughter and would never do something like that.

She said she was relieved when her daughter grew apart from Shank.

In October 2012, she said her daughter came to her home and read a story in The Gazette out loud — a story about Shank’s trial on charges of sexually abusing the York Township girl. A jury found him guilty and he was sentenced in December 2012 to six years in prison,

“And I said, ‘Oh my God. Did he do that to you?’ ” the mother testified. “And she said yes, but she wouldn’t say anything else about it,” the mother said. “I said I knew it.”

She then broke down into tears on the stand. When she recovered, she told the court she convinced her daughter to come forward.

Shank’s attorneys questioned the mother for inconsistencies, including whether the victim did her own laundry.

On Monday, the victim testified she washed her sheets whenever Shank would rape her at home so her mother wouldn’t find out, but her mother said she did the laundry for the most part.

Also called to stand was the victim from Shank’s first trial. The woman, now 19 years old, recounted her experiences with Shank.

She said Shank sexually assaulted her four times between 2008 and 2010, and said she returned to the Shank house despite the assaults because she was very close friends with Shank’s children and because he would provide the children with alcohol.

Defense attorneys contested the younger victim’s testimony and cited several court cases to support their argument. Medina County Common Pleas Judge James L. Kimbler, however, said he would allow her testimony because it established a pattern of criminal activity.

Prosecutors also called Montville police Detective Angela Vivo to the stand.

Vivo said she investigated the new case after the Montville victim came forward.

“Did you apply any scrutiny to the allegations because they were spawned by a newspaper article?” asked attorney Elizabeth Kelley, who’s also representing Shank.

“No more scrutiny than anybody else who reports a crime. We just start from the beginning and go from there,” Vivo said. “If there are any similarities, it may benefit our investigation either positively or negatively. It could show the offender had a pattern.”

Kelley also criticized Vivo’s failure to interview friends of the Shank family.

The family friends are expected to testify today. Also expected to testify are Shank’s wife and daughter.

Following Vivo’s testimony, the prosecution rested its case.

Shanks’ attorneys motioned for acquittal, arguing the prosecution failed to make a convincing case.

Kimbler said two counts of rape — ones where alcohol was involved — would not be dismissed. For the other 10 remaining counts, he told attorneys and prosecutors to prepare arguments on whether the charges should be reduced.

Shank waived a jury trial, so Kimbler is hearing the case.

The trial will pick up again today at 8:30 a.m., beginning with the presentation of those arguments.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com. Follow him on Twitter @ngfalcon.