Rape suspect could see two child rape trials merged in Ottawa County

Rape suspect could see two child rape trials merged in Ottawa County

OTTAWA COUNTY, OH (WTOL) - A Lake Township man arrested and charges on multiple counts of raping a child in August is facing even more charges.

When Earl Weidner was arrested, the Ottawa County prosecutor said there could be more victims added to the case. Now that's happened.

After his August arrest, Weidner later received 11 more charges related to rape of a child from the Wood County prosecutor's office.

Then, Weidner was facing 2 separate jury trials, one set for June 22 for the Ottawa County charges and another on July 11 for the Wood County case.

The two prosecuting attorneys utilized an Ohio state code allowing them to move the Wood County trial to Ottawa County. They also hope to merge the separate trials into one. That way they can not only maximize their judicial efficiency, but also limit any possible trauma to the child victims in the case.

"The criminal justice system and the court process, it can be somewhat daunting to them and having to take the stand and relive what occurred to them multiple times in multiple cases can be traumatizing to the child," said Ottawa County Prosecutor James VanEerten.

VanEerten says they will file for those two cases to be merged at some point in the next few days, but Weidner's attorney could appeal the filing, which would push back the trial date.

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