Rape trial ends with guilty verdicts

LIMA — A Lima man faces decades behind bars after a jury returned guilty verdicts Thursday on all 19 counts of rape and other sex-related crimes for his actions against a young boy.

Jurors in the trial of Matthew Brown, 33, deliberated for slightly more than two hours before returning their verdicts on nine counts of rape, seven counts of sexual battery, two counts of gross sexual imposition and one count of attempted rape, all involving the young boy. The charges stem from repeated, unwanted sexual conduct with the juvenile that occurred between May 2019 and Nov. 21, 2020.

Judge Jeffrey Reed ordered a pre-sentence investigation and set Brown’s sentencing date for Aug. 29.

Testimony in the trial was spread out over two days this week in Allen County Common Pleas Court. Jurors heard directly from the victim in the case, who said he had been sexually abused by Brown on numerous occasions by being forced to engage in oral sex, unwanted touching and attempted anal sex.

Testimony during the trial revealed the boy had previously been asked by his mother if Brown had sexually molested him. After initially denying at that time that any sexual activity had occurred, he told his mother in a text message on Feb. 1 of this year that “Matt did …” sexually abuse him.

The 14-year-old testified that he did not originally tell his mother about Brown’s unwanted advances “because I was scared of what he would do.”

In their closing arguments to jurors, attorneys offered differing scenarios about what happened in the case.

Defense attorney Carroll Creighton suggested the victim came forward only after being urged to do so by family members and that the boy’s statements to law enforcement were manipulated by those around him.

Assistant Allen County Prosecuting Attorney Joe Everhart said that for jurors to believe there was a “big conspiracy theory that mom and grandma put (the victim) up to this” would require them to subscribe to the belief that an unfathomable and unbelievable level of planning coordination between multiple parties had taken place.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Rebecca King-Newman told jurors the statements made by the victim, his mother and his grandmother “were consistent from the very beginning and through yesterday (Wednesday). And there is no evidence that (the victim) was coached.”

” If you use your reason and common sense about how everyone testified, you will return guilty verdicts,” King-Newman said.

And jurors did just that.