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Trial begins for man facing rape charges



Published: Thu, August 25, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



After a suspicious call, the woman found the defendant's real parole officer.

By ROGER G. SMITH

COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Prosecutors call the young woman a country girl taken advantage of by a convicted criminal.

The defense calls the rape allegation against Forrest A. Rupp a case of regret with a convenient target.

A jury of six men and six women began hearing the case -- two counts of rape -- against Rupp on Wednesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court. Judge Jack Durkin is handling the case.

Assistant Prosecutor Dawn Krueger said the 22-year-old New Waterford woman met Rupp, 25, of Poland, at a friend's house one night in March 2004. The woman pushed away Rupp's advances that night before he raped her in a car with her 8-month-old baby in the back seat, the prosecutor said.

Rupp bragged to the woman about his criminal past before the rape, Krueger said.

About his past

In April 2003, Rupp was one of four men who helped cop killer Martin Koliser escape town. Koliser ambushed city Patrolman Michael T. Hartzell in downtown Youngstown. Koliser received the death penalty but committed suicide in May.

Rupp served about 90 days of a three-year prison sentence for obstructing justice. He was put on three years' probation after his release in November 2003. Rupp also is on probation until 2007 for an unrelated aggravated robbery conviction.

Krueger said Rupp followed the woman in a car after the alleged rape and warned her not to call the police. The woman was afraid of what Rupp might do to her or people she knew, the prosecutor said.

The woman got a suspicious call a few days later from somebody claiming to be Rupp's parole officer. The caller warned her to leave Rupp alone, Krueger said. The woman, however, tracked down Rupp's real parole officer. She told the parole officer, and later Austintown police, about the alleged rape.

Defense lawyer Ronald D. Yarwood said sex between Rupp and the woman was consensual, not forced.

He said the woman regretted the episode and worried what people might think of her being involved with somebody with Rupp's background.

He told jurors the woman's testimony will prove to be much like a fish story, a tale that becomes ever larger and more unbelievable.

rgsmith@vindy.com




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