Ex-pastor pleads innocent to rapes

By Peter H. Milliken

Dale Giffin will stand trial May 11 on six counts of rape.

YOUNGSTOWN — The former pastor of a Cornersburg church has pleaded innocent to six counts of rape.

Dale Giffin, who had been pastor of Zion Lutheran Church, was arraigned Friday before Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

Judge Krichbaum set Giffin’s bond at $60,000 with 10 percent acceptable. Giffin, who appeared in court with his lawyer, J. Gerald Ingram, immediately posted the $6,000 bond.

A trial date was tentatively set for May 11 before Judge James C. Evans.

The Mahoning County grand jury indicted Giffin, 59, of Topaz Circle, Canfield, on Feb. 19. The indictment alleges Giffin raped a parishioner while she was a young adult between 1993 and 1996.

The alleged offenses occurred in various places, including Giffin’s office, car and residence, and in the Canfield Road church basement and sacristy, according to Atty. Dawn Cantalamessa, an assistant county prosecutor.

The case was investigated by the county sheriff’s department.

Giffin had served Zion Lutheran for nearly 30 years until his resignation last fall.

Judge Krichbaum told Giffin he is to have no contact with the accuser; he may not leave Ohio without the court’s permission; and he must immediately surrender his passport to the court. He also may not own, use or possess any firearms.

Ingram handed Giffin’s passport to Atty. James MacDonald, an assistant county prosecutor, in court.

Also arraigned Friday before Judge Krichbaum were two suspects who were indicted Thursday on charges of murder and improperly discharging a firearm at or into a habitation in last Saturday’s shooting death of Melkanoe L. Bowman.

Judge Krichbaum set bond at $200,000 each for the suspects: Keilan A. Clinkscale, 20, of Coronado Avenue, and Ryan J. McGee, 22, of Superior Street.

Their trial was tentatively set for June 8 before Judge John M. Durkin.

Bowman, 24, was shot in the head in the 900 block of Delaware Avenue on the city’s North Side in what police said was a feud. A bullet from the shooting also wounded a 6-year-old boy across the street in his left foot as he slept.

In another recent high-profile case, Bryce D. Burke, 26, of Mercedes Place, Canfield, who was indicted Feb. 19 on a charge of failing to stop after an accident, waived his arraignment in open court, pleaded innocent, and waived speedy trial in a Thursday filing by Atty. Ingram, who also represents Burke.

Burke is accused of driving away after being alerted by a motorist to a body being dragged beneath his car while in the McDonald’s drive-though at South Avenue and Midlothian Boulevard on Nov. 29.

Andrew Culp, 22, of North Main Street, Columbiana, who died of his injuries, was found in the westbound lane of Midlothian Boulevard near Euclid Boulevard, two blocks from the fast-food restaurant.

Burke surrendered to detectives Dec. 1.

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