LIMA — A 42-year-old Lima man entered pleas of not guilty to two counts of rape and a single count of gross sexual imposition during his arraignment Friday in Allen County Common Pleas Court.
A grand jury earlier this month returned charges alleging Everett Ward engaged in sexual conduct with a person less than 13 years of age by force or the threat of force on or about Aug. 6 of last year.
The rape charges are first-degree felonies, while the gross sexual imposition is a third-degree felony.
According to court documents, the mother of a juvenile female on April 1 of this year reported to the Lima Police Department that her daughter had been sexually assaulted by Ward at his residence on Elm Street in Lima. The alleged victim told her mother that Ward “had her get naked and sit on his lap while he was naked,” court documents show. At that time, Ward reportedly began to touch the young girl’s breasts and vaginal area.
Ward’s wife told police she watched the incident and confirmed to police that the young girl was sitting on her husband’s pelvic region and “they appeared as if they were having sexual intercourse or attempting to,” according to a police narrative.
Everett Ward initially denied any wrongdoing but later changed his statement and admitted having contact with the juvenile, stating that she spent the night at his trailer. According to court documents, Ward told police he knowingly had sexual contact with the juvenile, who he knew to be under the age of 13, for the purpose of sexual gratification.
An initial pre-trial hearing for Ward is scheduled for 8 a.m. Wednesday.