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Published: Monday, July 31, 2017 @ 6:00 AM
— A Wright State University education professor resigned in May amid a four-month university investigation into accusations that he raped one student and sexually harassed other students.
The university’s Office of Equity and Inclusion launched the investigation of Jason Fruth, 37, on Feb. 19 after a graduate student filed a complaint claiming she had been raped by the professor, WSU investigative records obtained by the Dayton Daily News show.
Fruth denied the rape and harassment allegations and a criminal investigation by the Beavercreek police led to no charges.
He was placed on paid leave on Feb. 22 and resigned on May 31, two weeks before Wright State’s investigation was completed.
Following her complaint to WSU, the graduate student filed a complaint with Beavercreek Police on March 2 alleging Fruth had raped her in the early hours of Jan. 1, a police report shows.
Fruth was not charged following a Beavercreek police investigation. Police told the Dayton Daily News the case is closed and the Greene County prosecutor reviewed it and declined to file charges.
Wright State’s investigation uncovered allegations of 29 instances in which Fruth engaged in what the university considers inappropriate behavior. Students reported to Wright State that Fruth told them they were attractive, sent messages with photos of himself shirtless, and made sexual jokes, among other things.
Fruth was an assistant professor in Wright State’s College of Education and Human Services. He was hired as an instructor at Wright State in September 2011 and was promoted to an assistant professor in 2016, according to documents in his personnel file. At one point in his career at the university he also served as co-director of the intervention specialist program.
His biography, which has since been removed from WSU’s website, stated that he has worked with state and federal agencies as the lead investigator on projects to end sexual violence.
The graduate student who made the rape allegation was a student who worked for Fruth, according to the police report.
While Fruth has not been charged with a crime, Lindsay Wight, interim director of Wright State’s Office of Equity and Inclusion, concluded he broke three university policies, according to a report detailing the investigation’s findings.
The first violation was that he had sex with someone who was intoxicated and unable to give consent. That was the finding involving the case in which the student claimed she had been raped.
The second violation was that he had a sexual relationship with a student, who he had “direct supervisory authority over,” and did not report it to his superiors. Relationships where a “professional role-based power differential” exists between two people are discouraged by university policy. But, WSU policy states that if such a relationship emerges, the person in the position of power has a duty to report the relationship to their immediate supervisor.
The third is that he sexually harassed the student who accused him of rape as well as other students who did not work for him, creating a “hostile working and learning environment,” according to the report.
Fruth declined to comment when the newspaper contacted him in June and could not be reached to comment this week after several messages were left on his phone. Attorneys who represented Fruth at the time the March police report was filed did not return calls for comment.
The student who claimed Fruth raped her declined to immediately comment on the story stating she wanted to speak to her legal representation.
‘Frozen and unable to move’
The alleged incident that led to the rape accusation against Fruth began on Dec. 31, 2016.
The student who accused Fruth of rape said she and her friends had been drinking in celebration of New Year’s Eve, according to the WSU investigative report obtained through a public records request. The student said at some point in the night she and two of her friends went to Tuty’s Bar and Grill in Fairborn to continue drinking and celebrating.
The student texted Fruth “Happy New Year!” according to copies of the text messages in the investigative report. Fruth responded with three emojis of a woman dancing in a red dress and joked that it was actually an emoji of himself.
The two texted about “adding” each other on the messaging app Snapchat. The student asked Fruth “If I were yours, what would you do?” and Fruth responded “Snap me and I’ll show you.”
The student asked Fruth to come to Tuty’s because she was drunk and did not have a ride home, according to text messages in the investigative report. Fruth later told WSU that the student “exhibited sober behaviors” and that she did not seem drunk.
Fruth picked the student up from Tuty’s after midnight, telling her over text message that he drove to Fairborn from Middletown, the report shows.
The student told WSU that she was so intoxicated that a friend had to help her to Fruth’s car and that she could not remember the drive home nor arriving at her apartment. Fruth though said that the student gave him directions to her apartment, according to Wright State’s report.
The student told investigators she recalled being in her room and Fruth taking off her dress but she said she did not remember giving him consent, according to the report.
The student told Wright State that during sexual intercourse she felt “frozen and unable to move” and recalled thinking to herself “what is happening?” Fruth told investigators that the sex was consensual.
In a letter to Beavercreek police, Greene County prosecutor Stephen K. Haller said that charges would not be filed because the student could not remember if she gave consent, that there was no actual evidence she was impaired by alcohol and because she and Fruth exchanged flirtatious and sexually suggestive text messages before the alleged rape.
Rape cases based on intoxication are hard to prosecute because intoxication is tough to prove unless corroborated by witnesses, said Becky Perkins, communications director for the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence. While needing a ride home may “theoretically” seem like evidence, it’s difficult to show someone was intoxicated because by the time a victim usually seeks help, the alcohol has left their system, she said.
“The criminal justice system is based on things that can be proven and it’s difficult to prove,” Perkins said.
Few college sexual assault and rape cases ever end in convictions or arrests, a 2016 Dayton Daily News investigation found. Just five of 79 cases at eight Ohio universities examined by this newspaper led to arrests in 2014 and 2015, while none led to convictions.
In 2014 and 2015, Wright State police investigated nine alleged rapes, one of which led to an arrest in 2016.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine told this news organization last year that “people have to understand an intoxicated woman cannot give consent.”
“There has to be a discussion about consent, that an intoxicated person cannot give consent,” DeWine said. “Not only does it need to be discussed in schools, it needs to be discussed in homes.”
Student worked at WSU
The student told Wright State that she hesitated to report the incident, fearing that she would lose her job because Fruth was her boss, according to a Beavercreek police report.
On Feb. 19, the student notified the university that she wanted to file a complaint against Fruth.
In a statement on the matter, the university said “The University’s Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI) received a complaint alleging a violation of the University’s Gender-Based Harassment and Violence Policy. In accordance with policy, the OEI promptly conducted and completed an investigation concerning the complaint.”
Following her encounter with Fruth on New Year’s Eve, the student told Wright State officials he made her feel uncomfortable on other occasions.
In mid-January, the student told Fruth via text message that she had not been paid for her work and he offered to pay her out of his own pocket. The student declined the offer, according to text messages between her and Fruth that were compiled in Wright State’s investigative report.
She also told the WSU investigator that Fruth would assign her tasks that would require her to come to his office. She became so uncomfortable with the requests that she made up excuses and asked other people to complete the tasks, according to the report.
The student told WSU that Fruth had previously sought a relationship with her when she was a sophomore at Wright State.
The student said Fruth told her “that he would like to see her in her underwear, told her repeatedly that she was pretty, asked her how someone like her was single, and told her that he would treat her better than anyone her own age.”
One time when the student was at a North Carolina airport, she texted Fruth to let him know she was stuck at the airport and would not be able to attend his class, according to the report.
Fruth called her and said he had ordered her a car to take her to a hotel he had paid for. The student told investigators she considered that a “weird gesture” and said she did not have much more contact with Fruth as an undergraduate, according to the report.
Fruth told Wright State that such gestures for his students were not out of the ordinary for him to make. He also said he once helped a female student pay to have her car fixed so she could get to class, according to the report.
Wright State’s investigation also examined a sexual relationship Fruth allegedly had with another student. Fruth was accused of having sex with a student in his university office, though he denied the allegation, according to WSU.
The student confirmed she had a relationship with Fruth but declined to be interviewed for WSU’s investigation, according to the report. While Fruth denied having sex with a student in his university office, three witnesses stated that he had.
In 2014, a different student accused Fruth of sexual harassment but did not want to file a formal complaint with the office of equity and inclusion, according to the report. The report does not say whether Fruth contested the allegation.
That student requested that the university address the issue with Fruth “so as to prevent this from happening to someone else.”
The student told Wright State that Fruth invited her to lunch off campus and while she was in a car with him, he touched her leg and made inappropriate comments, according to the report.
The director of Wright State’s office of equity and inclusion spoke to Fruth following the alleged 2014 incident and thought that the discussion was “effective in stopping the objectionable behavior with respect to” the student, according to the report.
While no formal complaint was filed against Fruth in 2014, spokesman Seth Bauguess said the office of equity and inclusion’s meeting with him was documented.
Published: Sunday, March 18, 2018 @ 12:28 PM
Updated: Sunday, March 18, 2018 @ 3:41 PM
A 3-year-old girl died Sunday, just a few days after her babysitter was indicted on charges of felonious assault and felony child endangering.
Hannah Wesche was essentially “brain dead” at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, her father, Jason Wesche, previously said. She was pronounced dead at 12:15 a.m., he said via a post made late Sunday morning on GoFundMe page #Hannahstrong#JusticeforHannah at www.gofundme.com/59at5mo.
As of 3:40 p.m. Sunday, the page had raised $8,332 of its $15,000 goal.
Lindsay Partin, who is accused of assaulting the 3-year-old child while in her care March 8, was free on bond Thursday after being arraigned on a felony indictment Thursday afternoon.
Partin, 35, of the 4000 block of Shank Road in Hanover Twp., was indicted by a Butler County grand jury on charges of felonious assault and felony child endangering. Butler County Common Pleas Judge Greg Stephens set bond at $75,000 at her arraignment.
Partin was free on bond at 7:15 p.m. Thursday. She is scheduled to be back in court for a pre-trial hearing on April 9.
At about 7 a.m. March 8, Hanover Twp. emergency crews and Butler County detectives responded to Partin’s residence for an unconscious child. They found Hannah unresponsive with labored breathing, according to the sheriff’s office. There were obvious bruises about her head and face.
The girl was taken by medical helicopter to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. After further investigation, detectives and hospital personnel noted additional bruising on the child’s body.
Partin admitted to striking the child and stated she had fallen and struck her head on the concrete garage floor the previous day.
Published: Sunday, March 18, 2018 @ 12:08 AM
DAYTON — The owner of MJ’s Fish and Chips arrived Saturday to find that someone fired multiple shots into the building.
Surveillance footage from the restaurant at 1600 W. Riverview Ave. showed that just after 1 a.m. a maroon small sport-utility vehicle, possibly a Kia Sportage, slowly drove south in the wrong direction of Paul Laurence Dunbar Avenue. The SUV briefly paused in front of the store before leaving the area.
At 1:45 a.m., Dayton police officers are seen checking the area after someone reported hearing several shots fired.
Police discovered 11 bullet holes: six in the window to the west of the doorway; three in the sign above the door; and two in the door.
Published: Saturday, March 17, 2018 @ 10:04 PM
DAYTON — A Dayton man is jailed on gun-related charges this weekend after police say he threatened a clerk who used a racial slur against him.
Police were called around 9 p.m. Friday to Marathon gas station, 1845 N. Main St., on a report of a man with a gun.
The suspect had already gone, but an officer spotted a man who matched his description walking up North Main Street.
The officer, with backup, apprehended the suspect — identified as 46-year-old Nigel Harrison — at gunpoint, and found a loaded weapon in his waistband, according to a Dayton police report.
The clerk admitted to police he used the N-word against Harrison during an argument after he accused Harrison of shortchanging him.
According to the police report, Harrison left the store, but came back inside and was yelling, making shooting gestures with his hand. At one point he pulled a gun out of his waistband and held it next to his leg, the report stated.
Harrison was booked on suspicion of felonious assault and carrying concealed weapon. He is set to be arraigned Monday in Dayton Municipal Court.
Published: Saturday, March 17, 2018 @ 3:51 PM
DAYTON — Parents of a 10-month-old girl revived with Narcan had several other run-ins with police in previous months involving drugs.
Medics and police responded July 15, 2017, to a report of an unresponsive 10-month-old in the 200 block of Billwood Road in Dayton. They had to administer Narcan, an overdose reversal drug, to revive her.
Police charged her parents with felony child endangering, after police say 27-year-old Carmen Lovely and 30-year-old Andrew Reboulet tested positive for fentanyl, a drug also found in the baby's system. It’s not clear how the baby came in contact with the deadly drug, but experts say even a tiny bit of powder on her skin could have been enough to put her in shock.
Dayton police records from 2017 alone show a history of drug-related incidents involving the girl’s parents.
In January 2017, police used Narcan to revive Reboulet. The next month, they revived Lovely. After they found her battered and partially clothed, officers wrote: “It appeared as she had been thrown from a vehicle after overdosing.”
In mid-May both parents were with their children at an elementary school. Police arrested Reboulet after they say he drove under the influence with his kids in the car. Officers wrote that Reboulet “almost fell with the baby in his hands. Baby with possible injuries from being dropped on head. (Parents) are screaming at the little boy, like it was his fault that the baby is injured.”
Police took Reboulet to jail, and medics took the infant to the hospital. Less than two months later, medics had to revive the infant.
When asked why the couple still had custody of the baby at the time she was exposed to fentanyl, a Montgomery County Children Services spokesperson could only say: “We do have a current open case in this matter.” Case workers were not able to say when the case was opened nor where the children are now.
Both parents pleaded guilty to child endangerment. Reboulet did not get time in prison but was sent to the alternative MonDay Program.
Lovely will be sentenced April 9.