Attorneys in the rape trial of a former Montville Township man presented their closing arguments Thursday, with the defense saying the allegations “don’t add up” and the prosecution pointing out similarities to a 2012 case in which 47-year-old Patrick Shank was convicted.
Medina County Common Pleas Judge James L. Kimbler said he will announce his verdict Monday. Kimbler is deciding the case because Shank waived a jury trial.
Shank, who’s serving a six-year prison sentence on a 2012 conviction of sexual battery and unlawful sexual conduct with a York Township teenager, is charged with 12 counts of rape involving a Montville Township girl.
If convicted, he could face up to 11 years in prison on each count.
In his closing arguments, county Assistant Prosecutor Scott Salisbury said the testimony of the woman Shank is accused of raping was proof of Shank’s guilt.
The woman, who’s now 24, testified Monday that Shank provided her with alcohol when she was 13 and raped her in an in-house recording studio he used with his heavy metal rock band, Not of This Earth.
The woman said Shank raped her at least once a week for two years, until 2005.
Salisbury said the woman never changed her story, even during “very thorough” cross-examination by one of Shank’s three attorneys, Richard Lillie.
“She demonstrated the truthfulness of her testimony,” Salisbury said, adding that she broke down into tears more than once, and corrected Lillie more than once when he was mistaken about her testimony.
Salisbury said the testimony was “eerily similar” to the 2012 case in which the girl said Shank gave her alcohol and sexually assaulted her four times — the first time in the recording studio — from 2008 to 2010 when she also was 13 to 15 years old.
“These events were very, very similar,” he said. “It shows a pattern of conduct.”
Salisbury said the woman never intended to come forward with her experiences until she saw stories in The Gazette about the 2012 trial and recognized the similarities. She testified she went to police so Shank’s wife, Darla Shank, could know what happened to her.
“That is a very mature and true reason to come forward,” Salisbury said. “He’s already being punished, so it was not for vengeance. It was so Darla could know.”
Another of Shank’s attorneys, Elizabeth Kelley, argued the allegations against Shank “don’t add up.” She said it didn’t make sense that the girl would continue to go back to the Shank house if she was being sexually abused and that she didn’t tell her parents about what Shank allegedly was doing.
“It doesn’t add up that this woman was serially raped over 100 times and no one caught on,” Kelley said.
Kelley pointed out that Shank’s wife testified she was a light sleeper and would have awakened the night of the alleged first rape. The woman testified Shank opened a garage door to get inside, which Darla Shank said was loud.
Kelly said it was impossible that the woman would not have noticed a scar on Shank’s genitalia if she was forced to have intercourse and perform oral sex, as she testified. To prove Shank had the scar, which was the result of a childhood injury, photos of his genitals were entered into evidence.
Kelley said none of it adds up.
“But what does add up is reasonable doubt,” she said. “Buckets and buckets and buckets of reasonable doubt.”
“The only thing that doesn’t add up is why (the alleged victim) would come in here and lie,” Salisbury said during his rebuttal
He said most of the problems Kelley brought up can be explained because the woman was so young.
“She was 13 and 14 years old,” Salisbury said. “Mr. Shank was an adult.”
He said Shank intimidated her into not coming forward, and she didn’t tell her parents what was happening because she was ashamed. Salisbury said he took issue with Kelley’s use of the phrase “serial rape.”
“Some guy didn’t come in through her window and rape her in her bedroom at random,” Salisbury said.
He stressed it’s impossible to ignore the similarities between the facts in the first trial and this one.
“It’s simply too much of a coincidence that there are similarities so close,” he said.
Before closing arguments, Shank’s attorneys made a second motion for acquittal. Specifically, Lillie said two of the rape counts were not appropriate for Medina County because they happened in Cuyahoga County.
“We question the venue and move to dismiss those counts,” he said.
Salisbury said the law allowed the charges to be pressed despite where they were committed.
“We believe the venue is proper because it’s part of an ongoing course of criminal conduct,” he said.
After consulting the Ohio Revised Code, the judge agreed with Salisbury.
Kimbler said he wanted to take a few days to consider the facts before rendering a verdict.
“Unlike a jury, I do not have a collective memory,” he said.
Kimbler said it’s possible some of the counts could be reduced to lesser charges of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor or sexual battery.
Kimbler said he planned to announce the verdict at 9 a.m. Monday.