EATON — A local man was convicted on charges of gross sexual imposition in Preble County Common Pleas Court Monday. Judge Stephen R. Bruns presided.
Eric Kaye, 56, formerly of Lakengren, initially faced three counts of gross sexual imposition, which Preble County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney H. Michele Thomas described as having sexual contact with a person other than the defendant’s spouse, when the defendant knew or had reason to believe that person was unable to resist or consent to the contact because of their mental or physical condition.
Thomas further defined sexual contact as any touching of the erogenous zones for the purpose of sexual pleasure, including the breasts, thighs, or genitals.
Kaye faced charges related to three alleged incidents of abuse toward an underage female family member. The family member in question is disabled and requires round-the-clock care.
Video clips of the incidents in question were shown to the jury; the clips were recorded by a camera installed by the defendant with his wife’s knowledge for the purpose of monitoring the behavior of the alleged victim’s caregivers. Kaye’s wife made copies of the videos and provided them to authorities at the Preble County Sheriff’s Office.
Defense council Kyle Lennen challenged the admission of the videos, claiming they simply depict the defendant providing routine care to the victim, who is unable to move on her own.
“There’s no evidence or even inkling of anything sexual in these videos,” Lennen told the court. “We have nothing here to validate these charges. The state wants to show you images of a single motion and then infer that something else took place. You’ve seen exactly what happened.”
Prosecutor Thomas disagreed.
“It doesn’t matter that it happened quickly,” Thomas told the jury during closing arguments. “There’s no law that says ‘Do it fast and it’s okay.’”
Judge Bruns dismissed the second count, but allowed the first and third counts and their associated videos to be submitted to the jury.
“I think it’s a real close call,” Bruns said before ruling.
The defendant’s wife, who is separated from the defendant and in the process of filing for divorce, testified during the course of the single-day trial, as did a nurse — another of the alleged victim’s caregivers — and a Preble County Sheriff’s deputy who investigated the initial complaint.
The jury returned a verdict of guilty on one count after deliberating for approximately one hour. A not guilty verdict was rendered on the second remaining count.
Kaye’s next court appearance is a sentencing hearing, to be held Sept. 18.