Gross convicted on rape charges

By Eddie Mowen Jr. -

EATON — A College Corner man will be sentenced next month after being convicted by a Preble County jury of rape and gross sexual imposition.

Franklin B. Gross, 49, was convicted of two counts of rape and two counts of gross sexual imposition. His sentencing hearing has been set for Nov. 8, according to Preble County Prosecutor Martin Votel.

Each count of rape carries a maximum sentence of 11 years in prison; each count of gross sexual imposition carries a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison, Votel noted in a recent press release.

According to court documents, on May 12, 2016, the victim in the case went out with Gross’s daughter and others. At the conclusion of the evening, the victim opted to spend the night at the defendant’s home instead of driving home after consuming alcohol. She passed out on a couch in the living room and was by all accounts highly intoxicated.

“When the victim awakened, she realized that her pants and underwear were down around her ankles. The defendant was naked and straddling her from behind. When the defendant realized the victim was awake, he got off of her and walked into his room,” Votel noted.

“(She) woke her friend, who was sleeping nearby,” Votel said. “(Her friend) testified that (the victim) was ‘completely undone’ and ‘hysterical.’ The two headed to Oxford, where they went to the home of Mrs. Laura Hounchell, a friend of (the victim). Ms. Hounchell testified that the victim collapsed on her floor and continued to cry hysterically. Once she was able to calm herself and report what the defendant had done to her, the victim went to the hospital for a sexual assault exam.”

According to officials, laboratory analysis of the Sexual Assault Kit from the exam confirmed the presence of Gross’s semen and DNA.

At trial, the State of Ohio was represented by Assistant Prosecutor Valerie Sargent-Wood and Prosecuting Attorney Martin P. Votel. The defendant was represented by counsel H. Steven Hobbs, with the Judge David N. Abruzzo presiding in the Preble County Court of Common Pleas. The trial lasted 2 ½ days, resulting in convictions on each count included in the indictment.

”Sex crimes facilitated by the victim’s consumption of alcohol and/or drugs are crimes of opportunity — a perpetrator realizes that the victim’s ability to appraise the nature of the conduct and/or to resist any sexual advances is impaired or completely compromised by lack of consciousness,” Votel said. “Although victims in this position ordinarily ingest the alcohol and/or drugs voluntarily, they do not forfeit their right to the protection of the law, nor do they forfeit their autonomy over their own bodies. These statutes are ‘on the books’ for good reason. The jury in this case made a wise decision based upon solid evidence.”

By Eddie Mowen Jr.

Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.

Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.