Accused takes stand in Putnam Co. rape case


By Jennifer Peryam - jperyam@limanews.com



Cheryl Stauffer, Van Wert Counseling Center licensed social worker, testifies about the therapy she has provided since April 2019 to a minor who has reported being sexually abused.

Cheryl Stauffer, Van Wert Counseling Center licensed social worker, testifies about the therapy she has provided since April 2019 to a minor who has reported being sexually abused.


Jennifer Peryam | The Lima News

Pictured is Michael T. Huizenga, who took the stand Wednesday during his jury trial in Putnam County on rape charges.

Pictured is Michael T. Huizenga, who took the stand Wednesday during his jury trial in Putnam County on rape charges.


Jennifer Peryam | The Lima News

OTTAWA — A man accused of raping a child took the stand Wednesday in Putnam County Common Pleas court.

Michael T. Huizenga, 51, of Continental, appeared before Putnam County Common Pleas Court Judge Keith Schierloh with his attorney E. Charles Bates. Huizenga has been charged with seven counts of rape and four counts of sexual imposition against a 10 year old. The abuse is said to have started in 2013.

Huizenga’s attorney asked about the history of his relationship with his wife and events related to when he allegedly committed the crimes. He denied anything was amiss.

“(The victim) loved to feed the (animals). She always said (Huizenga), will you go with me and feed the (animals),” Huizenga said.

Bates asked, “Did you sexually assault her when you had the chance?”

Huizenga answered, “No.”

A photo was shown during court of the victim sitting on Huizenga’s lap at a gathering.

“There were other people whose laps she could crawl up on, but she crawled up on my lap,” he said, crying.

Huizenga explained his reasoning behind the March day Putnam County Sheriff’s Department officials visited his work and told him to come to the sheriff’s office to talk.

“I figured it was about my son and his girlfriend fighting,” Huizenga said.

He finished his work shift and went home to feed animals when police arrived at his home after waiting 45 minutes for him to show up at the sheriff’s office. At that time, a search warrant was executed at the home.

Janice Huizenga, Huizenga’s wife, said they have been married 34 years.

“She showed no apprehension of coming to our house and never complained about coming to visit us,” Janice Huizenga said in reference to the victim. “We were completely blindsided last March by this. This is outlandish. We’ve done nothing, and this has broken our hearts.”

Cheryl Stauffer, Van Wert Counseling Center licensed social worker, said she has counseled the victim April 4, 2019, to the present.

“… I asked her if she knew why she was seeing me and she said because I was there to help her with the abuse she had endured,” Stauffer said.

She said she used play therapy and conducted a trauma assessment. She concluded the victim had post traumatic stress disorder.

Baby wipes were used after the acts, according to the victim.

“When he would grab the wipes I thought, ‘Here we go again,’” the counselor said the victim told her.

Stauffer said the victim told her of an incident where Michael Huizenga grabbed her by the hair and dropped her to the ground and said, “Don’t talk about this, or you will see.”

The jury trial will continue at 8:30 a.m. today.

Cheryl Stauffer, Van Wert Counseling Center licensed social worker, testifies about the therapy she has provided since April 2019 to a minor who has reported being sexually abused.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/02/web1_Court2.jpgCheryl Stauffer, Van Wert Counseling Center licensed social worker, testifies about the therapy she has provided since April 2019 to a minor who has reported being sexually abused. Jennifer Peryam | The Lima News
Pictured is Michael T. Huizenga, who took the stand Wednesday during his jury trial in Putnam County on rape charges.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/02/web1_Michaell1.jpgPictured is Michael T. Huizenga, who took the stand Wednesday during his jury trial in Putnam County on rape charges. Jennifer Peryam | The Lima News

By Jennifer Peryam

jperyam@limanews.com

Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.

Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.

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