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MAHONING COUNTY COURT Man is guilty on 1 of 2 rape counts



Published: Sat, August 27, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Neither the prosecutor nor the defense knew what to make of the split decision.

By ROGER G. SMITH

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- The jury was hung up on one charge, but Forrest A. Rupp still faces up to 10 years in prison on a rape conviction.

Jurors told Judge Jack Durkin late Friday afternoon in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court that they couldn't reach a decision on one charge.

The accusation was that Rupp forced a 22-year-old New Waterford woman to have intercourse in her car last year, while her 8-month-old baby was in the back seat.

The jury of six men and six women convicted Rupp on a second rape charge, however, that centered on forcing the woman to perform oral sex.

Rupp's sister and the victim each were in tears after the judge read the verdict; Rupp didn't react.

Judge Durkin will sentence Rupp, 25, of Poland, on Monday.

Neither Timothy E. Franken, an assistant prosecutor on the case, nor defense lawyer Ronald D. Yarwood knew what to make of the split decision.

Yarwood said there will be appeals on several items but didn't specify if the split decision was one of them.

What lawyers contend

Prosecutors acknowledged the case boiled down to "he said/she said."

The prosecution said the evidence showed Rupp intimidated the woman before and after the encounter, including bragging about his criminal record, and that she feared him, so she submitted to his force.

In April 2003, Rupp was one of four men who helped Martin Koliser escape town after he shot and killed city Patrolman Michael T. Hartzell.

Rupp served prison time for that crime, is on probation and faces more charges related to vandalism while in the county jail.

Yarwood argued the woman didn't take several opportunities to get away from Rupp before or after the encounter and so, wasn't afraid of him.

The woman regretted the encounter and later contended she was raped, he concluded.

rgsmith@vindy.com




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