EATON — A jury found Charles S. Worley, 32, of Lewisburg, guilty of rape and other sexually-oriented crimes against a minor, following a three-day trial in Preble County Common Pleas Court.
Worley was convicted on Wednesday, Aug. 16. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Wednesday, Oct. 4, at 1 p.m., in Preble County Common Pleas Court, according to court records.
According to Preble County Prosecuting Attorney Marty Votel, Worley was convicted of rape (by force or threat of force,) sexual battery, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, gross sexual imposition (by force or threat of force,) and pandering obscenity.
Worley was also convicted of a violating a civil protection order involving the same victim and her mother, in a separate matter tried by the presiding judge, David N. Abruzzo, Votel said. Valerie Sargent-Wood represented the State of Ohio in the matters, and Kirsten Knight served as Worley’s defense counsel.
“Worley was a family friend to the victim and her mother and was allowed to move in to their home in October 2012 when the victim was just 13 years old,” Votel explained in a press release. “He was, on his own report, a ‘father figure’ to the child, provided financial support to the family, and in so doing, was permitted some natural contact with the child.”
Within months of doing so, Worley began grooming the girl to become his “girlfriend,” disseminated pornographic images to her cell phone, and ultimately began a secret sexual relationship with the girl in December 2012 which continued through early 2017, Votel said.
In January 2017, Worley called a National Suicide Hotline when the victim “broke up” with him, according to court records. The Suicide Hotline worker relayed this information to the Eaton Police Department in the hopes the EPD could locate and assist Worley, Votel said.
“This lead directly to the discovery of the sexual relationship between Worley and the juvenile victim, and the victim confirmed this information to her mother and authorities,” Votel reported.
The victim’s mother secured a sexually-oriented civil protection order against Worley. Within days, Worley violated the CPO and further disseminated obscene and pornographic images of the victim, according to Votel.
Worley was arrested and a search warrant obtained for his phone. Worley’s phone was found to have a two-year period of text messages and emails — totaling more than 3,400 — between him and the victim from early morning to night, identifying aspects of their sexual relationship and his jealousy over her coming and going as a developing teenager, Votel explained in a press release.
“In addition, authorities discovered that Worley had downloaded several GPS, “spytracker,” and cell phone location applications to his phone to enable him to monitor the actions of the victim. Photographs of the victim were found hidden in a photo application on Worley’s phone,” Votel reported.
At trial, Worley elected to testify and denied all sexual contact or sexual conduct with the victim despite voluminous records and documents detailing his sexual relationship with the victim, according to Votel.
“He further denied she was his ‘girlfriend’ and claimed that the victim was merely ‘his best friend.’ He asserted that everyone in the case (police officers, the victim and her mother) was lying and that the victim was mad at him because he had stopped taking her and her mother out to dinner,” Votel said.
“This case highlights why Ohio has chosen to criminalize adults engaging in sexual conduct with persons of tender years: such victims are young and naïve and are easily manipulated into engaging in behavior harmful to them,” Votel said. “This victimization psychologically haunts the victim long after the sexual abuse has stopped. Authority figures within a household are supposed to protect and nurture children, not prey upon them. The state will be seeking a lengthy prison sentence in this case, as well as a designation requiring the offender to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison.”