Catholic school teacher gets prison time for sexually assaulting 2 female students

Published: Sunday, July 16, 2017 @ 6:24 AM

Catholic School Teacher Gets Prison Time For Sexually Assaulting 2 Female Students

A Pennsylvania teacher has been sentenced to prison time for sexually assaulting two female students.

>> Watch a video of Zurenko heading to prison

According to WPMT, Randi Zurenko, 33, of Millerstown, had sexual relations with two female students while teaching at Bishop McDevitt High School, a private Catholic school in Harrisburg. One of the relationships lasted from January 2013 to October 2016, while the other relationship began in early 2015 and also ended in October 2016, WPMT reported.

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Zurenko – who faced numerous charges, including institutional sexual assault, corruption of minors and possession of child pornography – was sentenced Thursday to 11 1/2 to 23 months in the Dauphin County Prison, WPMT reported.

The 2 1/2-hour hearing brought heartfelt testimonies from the parents of the victims and the victims themselves. According to PennLive, one of the victims said Zurenko “slowly shattered every belief I held.” A father of one of the students said, “You deserve no grace, no chance at rehabilitation. You deserve no success.”

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The former teacher, a mother of five, asked for leniency in light of her young children. In his sentencing, the judge declared, “Your conduct can only be described as incomprehensible. ... You became a villain.” 

Investigators said Zurenko gave the victims alcohol, and one of the victims said in court that the situation threw her into a depression and that she even contemplated suicide, PennLive reported.

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Zurenko’s lawyer said the former teacher is “a good woman who was truly in love with her victims.” He claimed she "is not somebody who took advantage of somebody else. She had real feelings for this person.” He also asked that the judge consider house arrest.

After serving her sentence, Zurenko will spend four years on probation and will have to complete 500 hours of community service.

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Prison for driver who killed motorcycle rider

Published: Thursday, April 26, 2018 @ 4:35 PM

Fatal crash on Ohio 4 in Riverside

A driver speeding at more than 100 mph, slammed the back of a motorcycle, and killed a Dayton woman riding on the back. 

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David Olsen, 25, of Bloomington, Illinois, was sentenced to eight years in prison in the death of Alysha Lewis, 30, of Dayton. Olsen was sentenced after withdrawing his not guilty plea April 12 and pleading guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide, aggravated vehicular assault and improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle.

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Prosecutors said Olsen was driving intoxicated at speeds over 100 mph when he hit the motorcycle on Harshman Road in Riverside in October 2017. Officers also found a loaded gun in Olsen’s car. 

“A completely innocent victim tragically lost her life because this defendant was driving impaired and in excess of 10 mph. This serves as another example of why persons should not drink and drive,” said Montgomery County Prosecutor Mathias Heck.

Tune in to WHIO-TV at 5:30 p.m. for more details on today’s sentencing.

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Piqua man strangled with garrote in Warren County prison

Published: Thursday, April 26, 2018 @ 1:19 PM

A 40-year-old man serving an 18-month sentence for domestic violence in Miami County was apparently strangled to death in his cell at Lebanon Correctional Institution on Monday, according to authorities.

A garrote, a tool used to kill someone by strangulation, was found around the neck of a Miami County inmate on Monday at Lebanon Correctional Institution, according to the initial investigative report.

Kevin Nill, 40, of Piqua, was less than a month from the end of an 18-month sentence for domestic violence in Miami County when he was pronounced dead at 9:43 a.m. Monday at the Atrium Medical Center, according to investigators and Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction records.

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“The victim inmate was found unresponsive in his cell with a garrotte around his neck at Lebanon Correctional Institution. The victim inmate was transported to Atrium Medical Center where he was later pronounced deceased,” Trooper Laura Harvey said in a report obtained today by this newspaper.

Doyle Burke, chief investigator for the Warren County Coroner’s Office, said Wednesday an autopsy and other evidence determined Nill was strangled to death in his cell at Lebanon Correctional Institution on Monday, according to authorities.

The incident at the prison on Ohio 63, west of Lebanon, Harvey’s report said, lists the offense as murder, although no charges have been filed.

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Nill was to be released on May 24, according to on-line Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction records.

He was not hanging when he was found and injuries were consistent with strangulation, which was determined to be the cause of death, Burke said.

According to prison and court records, Judge Jeannine Pratt sentenced Nill to 18 months in prison on April 20, 2017. With credit for time served, he was scheduled for release on May 24.

On April 7, 2017, a motion for a competency evaluation was withdrawn and Nill pleaded guilty to attempted domestic violence.

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The sentencing was delayed so that a pre-sentence investigation could be completed, according to on-line Miami County records.

The case stemmed from an assault on a relative, according to police reports. Pratt’s sentence followed a recommendation shared by the prosecutor and Nill’s lawyer, according to court records.

His prior record in Miami County Common Pleas Court listed a series of cases dating back to 1996 and including escape, receiving stolen property, felonious assault, kidnapping, violation of a protective order, domestic violence and attempted violence, including 2009 and 2015 cases in both of which he was sentenced to 11 months in prison.

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Harvey declined to comment on the case, while the investigation continued.

Prison officials confirmed the fatality and investigation, but provided no other information.

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Juvenile suspects in cruiser ramming have previous felony charges

Published: Thursday, April 26, 2018 @ 11:18 AM

Cruiser ramming: Prior attempted stop on vehicle

The two juveniles among four identified suspects in the Monday ramming of a police cruiser have previous felony cases.

The 16- and 15-year-olds are among four suspected of using a stolen car to hit a Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office cruiser on Monday at a Valero gas station at Siebenthaler Avenue and Philadelphia Drive in Harrison Twp.

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Juvenile court records obtained by this news organization indicate the 16-year-old’s first serious offense was stealing a golf cart from Madden Golf Course in May 2017.

In the months after that, however, the 16-year-old from Dayton was twice charged with receiving stolen property (both vehicles), breaking and entering and possession of heroin as well as some misdemeanors and violations of electronic home monitoring.

No family members were in court for the 16-year-old on Tuesday, when Montgomery County Juvenile Court Judge Anthony Capizzi told him, “Your record is only 13 pages long. Congratulations.”

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The 15-year-old’s felony record cases stretch back to July 2016 — when he was 14 — and include breaking and entering and attempted receiving stolen property as well as misdemeanor obstructing official business. The boy, who had family members in court on Tuesday, already is in treatment court.

Capizzi told them additional charges are likely, especially if investigators determine that one of them was driving a stolen Toyota Corolla involved in the latest incident.

According to the sheriff’s office, as deputies approached the stolen Corolla that was parked in the lot of the Valero, the driver noticed the deputies, got back in the vehicle and sped off, striking the patrol vehicle.

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Capizzi entered denials on the teens’ behalf and announced their appointed defense attorneys.

The judge said, “This was a very serious case. It’s not just stealing a car. … Someone stole a car, tried to escape, drove in to a police cruiser to escape and then hit a bunch of other cars. You know that’s going to mean a lot more charges against somebody,” Capizzi said. “I don’t know who the driver was.”

The boys’ next hearing is scheduled for May 3. Both remain in custody. Adults arrested in the case include Sha’King Jones, 19, and Nikeas Jones, 20. Both remain in the Montgomery County Jail.

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Driver indicted in death of local teen girl

Published: Thursday, April 26, 2018 @ 4:43 PM

The force of the crash that killed 14-year-old Chelsea Bowman in October 2016 was so powerful, it split the car she was riding in, in half, and threw her from the car.

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Eighteen months after the deadly head-on crash, the driver of the Dodge Neon Bowman was riding in, 21-year-old Merle Jay Lunsford II of Dayton, was indicted for vehicular homicide and operating a vehicle under the influence of marijuana and OVI.

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Prosecutors said the teen was ejected from a rear seat of the car when Lunsford crossed the center line on Frederick Pike and hit an oncoming car.

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Merle Jay Lunsford II.

Tune in to WHIO-TV at 5:30 p.m. for additional details in today’s indictment.

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