Witnesses detail alleged abuse at Lima man’s rape trial

LIMA — During the second day of a jury trial in Allen County Common Pleas Court for a Lima man charged with the repeated rape of two minors Wednesday, jurors heard from the second victim and the rest of the state’s witnesses.

The second victim also shared a bed with Paul Bowman, 48, of Lima, and gave the same description of how the abuse occurred as the first victim. The victim described more sexual abuse with penetration occurring than the first victim did and described being forced to perform a sexual act on Bowman.

The victim testified she had a pregnancy scare during the alleged abuse, and Bowman bought pregnancy tests. During that time, the victim was sexually active with someone else. Similar to the first victim, the second victim wasn’t believed when telling someone about the abuse, so the victim was afraid of a similar reaction from others and didn’t tell anyone else initially.

The victims reported recently receiving handwritten letters from Bowman which were delivered by someone else. The second victim said the letter contained Bowman’s handwriting and someone else’s. It talked about God throughout, and the victim described Bowman as not religious.

Bowman’s ex-wife, Danielle, testified about being told about the abuse. She said she didn’t tell law enforcement when the first victim told her about Bowman’s abuse because they had no evidence or resources, didn’t know how to pursue it and didn’t know how to deal with it.

“It was not something that we ever saw coming,” Danielle said about the rape accusations. “It was not something we felt he would admit to. He’s a master manipulator.”

Bowman’s former boss and a regional operations manager at Johnson Controls, Wendy Baylor, became emotional when she took the stand. She described Bowman’s time with the company as a model employee, “one of the best in our area,” she said.

Baylor never had issues with Bowman not coming to work, so when he didn’t show up in February 2023 after Lima police started investigating the rape accusations, Baylor thought something bad happened to Bowman, such as a crash.

Other employees tried his personal phone number, and it went straight to voicemail, Baylor testified. The company sent him a termination letter for repeated no-call no-shows, and it was returned marked “return to sender.”

Lima Police Det. Jesse Harrod was the detective on the case. He testified he made contact with Bowman by his work phone at the beginning of February. Harrod didn’t tell Bowman why he was calling on the first call, and Bowman didn’t ask until the second call, which Harrod thought was odd.

On the second call, Bowman asked Harrod if he needed an attorney and if he would be able to go back home if he came in to speak to Harrod. Bowman’s excuses for not coming in to talk to Harrod included having to go to work and not getting enough sleep.

At the end of the day, the state played audio from a phone conversation between Bowman and his mother when Bowman was in jail. Bowman told his mother to cancel his subscriptions and credit cards, along with getting his other affairs in order.

“I’m gonna be here until I’m done,” Bowman said to his mother.

Bowman’s attorney called no witnesses.

Closing arguments and jury deliberation will occur starting at 9 a.m. Thursday, May 23.

Reach Charlotte Caldwell at 567-242-0451.