By Elise Franco
Convicted felon Trent Rapp will remain in the Mahoning County jail while Judge Maureen A. Sweeney reviews the transcript from his probation violation hearing.
Rapp, 44, of Beaver Township and former owner of the Canfield Dairy Queen, was found Friday to be in violation of probation by way of face-to-face contact with a victim in his criminal case.
Judge Sweeney, of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, said she will review the transcripts before determining a sentence for Rapp. His sentencing hearing will be scheduled for a later date.
Rapp remains in jail without bond, where he’s been since he was arrested for the violation July 27.
During his May 30 sentencing, Judge Sweeney ordered Rapp be placed on five years’ reporting probation during which he was to register as a Tier 1 sex offender and have no contact with the victim in the case.
Rapp was convicted of marijuana trafficking, cocaine possession, corrupting another with drugs, possessing criminal tools, illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material and two counts of pandering sexually oriented material.
During the Friday hearing, two witnesses testified for the prosecution — Rapp’s probation officer, Joseph Mrofchak of the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections; and the victim’s mother, who asked not to be named to protect her son’s identity.
Sam Amendolara, Rapp’s attorney, didn’t call any witnesses.
The victim’s mother testified to witnessing the face-to-face interaction between Rapp and her son July 13.
“I was sitting outside on my deck, and my son had just left the house when I got a call from his fiance saying she saw [Rapp]” at a convenience store near their neighborhood, the victim’s mother said.
She said she got into her own vehicle and started driving toward the store because she suspected he’d been contacting her son.
“As I pulled out of my neighborhood, I saw Mr. Rapp’s truck, then I saw Mr. Rapp inside,” she said. “I turned and followed him because I thought my son was in his vehicle.”
The victim’s mother testified that she followed Rapp to the Family Dollar in Youngstown, where she realized her son wasn’t in the truck. She said Rapp pulled into the parking lot, and she parked her car on a side street and waited.
“He waited, and I waited,” she said. “I’m confident he knew I was there.”
She said her son rode up to Rapp’s truck on a bike a few minutes later and the two had a short exchange.
“Mr. Rapp then pulled away,” she said. “I told my son to leave, and then I left and headed home.”
Mrofchak testified that he reinforced, on numerous occasions, the importance of following the no-contact order.
Mrofchak said Rapp reported to him that the victim contacted him via phone on at least one occasion. Phone records indicated that the two spoke on at least two other occasions leading up to the face-to-face meeting.
Judge Sweeney, however, determined that there wasn’t enough evidence to prove Rapp was, in fact, the person on the other end of those phone calls.
Mrofchak said Rapp was fully aware that the victim was a drug addict with drug-seeking behavior. “It’s normal for addicts to seek out funds. I made sure he was aware of that.”
Mrofchak said Canfield police notified him in mid-July that the victim’s mother saw Rapp meet briefly with her son in Youngstown. At that point, Mrofchak said he called Rapp in and asked him about the incident before arresting him and filing a motion to extend or withdraw his probation.
“He did not give a reason for the contact. He didn’t acknowledge the contact,” Mrofchak said. “He referred me to his attorney.”