Story Behind The Story

Accused Serial Rapist Speaks Out Against Allegations

Tonight, I did a report about an accused serial rapist. (Sounds like fun, huh?) The Franklin County Grand Jury indicted a central Ohio man on 22 felony counts. Ten counts of rape, five counts of kidnapping, five counts of felonious assault and two counts of aggravated robbery. (Serious stuff…)

First things first, we contacted the Franklin County Prosecutor’s office for a copy of the indictment, which we quickly got thanks to the ol’ facsimile.  (Nine pages worth of information to dig through, which I did.) Considering it was around 3:15 pm at this point, we had to head out the door rather quickly to do live shots for our 5 and 6 o’clock newscasts. We did our live shots in the Hilltop on the city’s west side. The specific place we set up our truck brought back fond memories (After all, it was just a month or two ago we had rocks thrown at us while in the same location.)  No worries this time around though, just a couple shouts and horns being honked and that was it.

After doing those live shots, we set out to visit one of the victims named in the indictment. Before you criticize me for harassing victims of sexual assault crimes, it should be noted the woman had already done interviews with other media outlets. So, by her doing those interviews, I felt comfortable approaching her without being intrusive or insensitive. Once we got to her house, she said she wasn’t feeling well so we didn’t end up interviewing her. That’s fine. I’m not going to pressure someone to speak about such a sensitive topic.  (That would be going against my ‘Golden Rule’ philosophy I try to go by in just about everything I do.)

During this entire process, our assignment desk called the Franklin County Jail to see if the accused serial rapist would be up for an jailhouse interview. Just like it sounds, that’s where we go to the jail and into a room and ask an inmate questions. Because I was tied up most of the afternoon, my colleague, Patrick Preston went in my place and conducted the interview.  The accused basically says one of his accusers was upset because he says there was a dispute over the cost of a sex act. He says that led essentially to a conspiracy against him and ultimately the 22 felony counts against him. That’s as far as I’ll go into that. For a more in-depth look at the story, just visit nbc4i.com. (C’mon, I’ve already written the online article, why write it twice?)

With that, we headed back to the station to put all the pieces to the puzzle together.  That’s what we did. That’s where we are.

While writing the story, I made sure to run some things by Mr. Preston. Considering he conducted the interview, I wanted to make sure I accurately wrote about the accused. Accuracy matters in every situation!

One last thing we did is to do some background checks on the accuser. While it turns out she does have a criminal history (including soliciting,) we have to remember that’s in the past and it may or may not have any bearing on this current case. Being a journalist is reporting accurate facts, and digging deeper.

Posted by Tom Brockman  on 07/08 at 07:41 PM

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