Campbell man convicted in rape of 15-year-old
By John W. Goodwin Jr.
A Campbell man faces a 20-year prison sentence after his conviction for kidnapping and rape of a 15-year-old girl walking to school in 2009.
The six-woman, six-man jury had been hearing testimony all week in the trial of Charles Hudson, 55, who offered no official address. The jury also found Hudson guilty of gross sexual imposition in the case.
The jury deliberated about an hour Thursday before delivering its verdict to Judge Lou A. D’Apolito of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court. No sentencing date has been set.
Police said the 15-year-old, a 10th-grader at Campbell Memorial High School at the time, was abducted at knife point on Tremble Avenue near 13th Street around 7 a.m. Oct. 12 a few streets away from her home. She was taken to an abandoned house on Gordon Avenue, where the rape occurred.
Prosecutors say the girl escaped and ran home after Hudson left her and the knife in a room in the house.
Clarence Hudson, the defendant’s brother and a retired Campbell police officer, testified his brother is not homeless but was living at a home away from the site of the alleged attack.
Natasha Frenchko, an assistant county prosecutor, in her summation, told the jury the victim, now 17, was doing exactly what she was supposed to do the day of the attack, but she had her day and life altered after coming into contact with Hudson.
“He [Hudson] saw an opportunity to fulfill his own sick and disgusting desire to have sex with a little girl,” she said. “She did not decide to have sex with some stranger while walking to school.”
Frenchko reminded jurors the girl’s eyeglasses were left at the house and found there by police a short time later. She also reminded jurors that Hudson’s DNA was found inside of the girl during a rape examination.
Atty. Fernando Mack, a Cleveland attorney representing Hudson, in his summation, told jurors his client has never disputed the existence of DNA evidence. He said the fact remains that no one can say whether that DNA was left during voluntary sex or rape.
Mack said the victim told several different versions of what happened, and is therefore an unreliable witness. He said the girl’s statement that Hudson held her at knife point and abducted her from a busy intersection at 7 a.m. does not make sense.
“He has to assume that no one will be around. He has to assume that no school buses will be coming. He has to assume that no kids will be coming that way to school,” Mack said.
The defense lawyer also said it makes no sense for Hudson to have gone through the trouble of abducting the teen and raping her only to leave her alone in a room with the knife he used to abduct her.
“You have a lot of inconsistencies in this case. These are not minor inconsistencies. These are meaningful aspects of the case,” Mack said.