UPDATE: Man Sentenced in Daycare Rape Case

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 4/3/13 @ 9:40 p.m.
ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- An elderly man convicted of sexually molesting a young girl at a daycare run by family members was sentenced to five years in prison Wednesday.

Last month, a jury found Thomas Shifflet, 76, of Glouster, Ohio, guilty of one count of gross sexual imposition with a child under the age of 13, and not guilty on one count of sexual imposition.

Jurors were deadlocked on two other counts of gross sexual imposition, and one count of rape.

During Wednesday’s sentencing hearing in Athens County Common Pleas Court, Shifflet voluntarily pleaded no contest to three counts of gross imposition, charges that jurors were unable to reach a verdict on during the trial. The deadlocked rape charge was amended to one count of gross sexual imposition during Wednesday’s hearing.

After his release from prison, Shifflet will serve five years of post-release supervision and be classified as a Tier II sexual predator. He has been ordered to pay $6,490.64 in restitution.

Investigators say the incidents happened in June 2011 and involved five girls between the ages of three and 12 at two daycares run by family members.



UPDATE 3/19/13 @ 4:10 p.m.
ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- An elderly man charged with sexually molesting five young girls at a daycare run by family members has been found guilty on the one of the five counts against him.

The Athens County Common Pleas Court Jury found Thomas Shifflet, 76, of Glouster, guilty on one count of gross sexual imposition with a child under the age of 13, and not guilty on one count of sexual imposition.

Jurors were deadlocked on two other counts of gross sexual imposition, and one count of rape.

he Athens County Prosecutor says on the one count Siffllet was found guilty of, the 3-year-old girl told her parents about the incident on the day it happened.

Investigators say the incidents happened in June 2011 and involved five girls between the ages of three and 12 at two daycares run by family members.

Shifflet will be held at the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail in lieu of a $500,000 cash bond while he awaits sentencing.

Jurors began deliberating the case on Friday.

On Monday, the jurors indicated they were having trouble reaching a unanimous verdict on the various counts.

Judge Michael Ward then instructed them to continue deliberations and to tell the court if a unanimous verdict is unattainable.



UPDATE 3/19/13 @ 9:55 a.m.
ATHENS, OHIO (WSAZ) -- Day three of jury deliberations are underway in the trial of an elderly man charged with sexually molesting five young girls.

The jury returned to Athens County Common Pleas Court at 9:30 Tuesday morning.

Thomas Shifflet, 76, of Glouster, is charged with five separate counts: one count of rape, three counts of gross sexual imposition and one count of sexual imposition.

Investigators say the incidents happened in June 2011 and involved five girls between the ages of three and 12 at two daycares run by family members.

On Monday, jurors said they were having trouble reaching a unanimous verdict on the various counts. Judge Michael Ward instructed them to continue deliberations and to tell the court if a unanimous verdict is unattainable.

Shifflet could face 26 years and 45 days in prison if he is found guilty on all counts.

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UPDATE 3/18/13 @ 9:10 p.m.
ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- After almost 12 hours of deliberations, the jury in the trial of a Glouster man accused of sexually molesting five young girls says they're deadlocked.

Thomas Shifflet,76, is being charged on five separate counts: one count of rape, three counts of gross sexual imposition and one count of sexual imposition.

Athens County Common Pleas Judge Michael Ward instructed the jurors to continue deliberations and to tell the court if a unanimous verdict is unattainable.

Shifflet will face 26 years and 45 days in prison if he is found guilty on all counts.

This is week three of the trial.

After two weeks of testimonies from alleged victims who were between the ages of three and 12 at the time of the incidents, the prosecution put its case to rest followed by the defense who did not call upon a single witness.

Jurors went back into deliberations for the rest of the afternoon.

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UPDATE 3/18/13
ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Jury deliberations resumed Monday morning in the trial of an elderly man accused of sexually molesting young girls at a daycare run by family members.

Thomas Shifflet, 76, is charged with one count of rape, three counts of gross sexual imposition and one count of sexual imposition.

Investigators say the incidents happened in June 2011 and involved five girls between the ages of three and 12.

The jury began deliberations about 11 a.m. Friday. At 5:30 p.m., jurors were released for the weekend.

Deliberations resumed at 9 a.m. Monday morning.

Shifflet faces more than 26 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

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UPDATE 3/14/13 @ 8:30 p.m.
ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- An elderly man accused of sexually molesting young girls at a daycare will have to wait a little longer to learn his fate.

Thomas Shifflet, 76, is charged with one count of rape, three counts of gross sexual imposition and one count of sexual imposition.

After two weeks of victim testimonies, the jury went into deliberations about 11 a.m. Friday.

After seven hours, the jurors were released and will continue deliberations Monday morning.

Shifflet faces more than 26 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn says he does not believe the weekend-long break will have any impact on the verdict.



UPDATE 3/14/13
ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Jury deliberations began Friday morning in the trial of an elderly man accused of sexually molesting five girls.

Thomas Shifflet, 76, of Glouster, is charged with one count of rape, three counts of gross sexual imposition and one count of misdemeanor sexual imposition.

Investigators say the alleged incidents happened in June 2011 and involved five girls between the ages of three and 12 at two daycares owned by Shifflet’s family.

During closing arguments Shifflet's attorney John Lavelle said that, “if there's one thing that's consistent, it's that these stories have changed."

Lavelle also tried to poke holes in the prosecution's evidence, which relies heavily upon the testimonies of the alleged victims.

"We're dealing with children. Children that believe in Santa Claus, the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny," he said.

Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn gave his rebuttal saying, if anything, the slight changes in the childrens' stories exhibit their truth.

"If they were lying, they would have all had the same story," he said.

The jury got the case about 11 a.m.

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UPDATE 3/14/13
ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Closing arguments begin Thursday morning in the trial of an elderly man accused of sexually molesting five girls.

Thomas Shifflet, 76, of Glouster, is charged with one count of rape, three counts of gross sexual imposition and one count of misdemeanor sexual imposition.

Investigators say the alleged incidents happened in June 2011 and involved five girls between the ages of three and 12 at two daycares owned by Shifflet’s family.

The prosecution rested its case Tuesday afternoon after a week of calling children and adult witnesses to the stand.

The defense rested its case Wednesday morning without any character witness testimonies.

Closing arguments began at 9 a.m. Thursday.

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UPDATE 3/13/13
ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The state has rested its case in the trial of a 76-year-old Glouster man accused of sexually molesting five girls.

Thomas Shifflet, of Glouster, is charged with one count of rape, three counts of gross sexual imposition and one count of misdemeanor sexual imposition.

Investigators say the alleged incidents happened in June 2011 and involved five girls between the ages of three and 12 at two daycares owned by Shifflet’s family.

The defense will start its case Wednesday. They say they intend to call several witnesses to the stand to testify on behalf of Shifflet. No word if Shifflet will testify.

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UPDATE 3/4/13 @ 11:30 a.m.
ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A jury has been picked and opening arguments are now underway in the trial of an elderly man charged with sexually assaulting several young girls at two daycare facilities in Athens County.

76-year-old Thomas Shifflet, of Glouster, is charged with one count of rape, three counts of gross sexual imposition and one count of misdemeanor sexual imposition.

The trial is taking place in Athens County Common Pleas Court. It is expected to last all week.

Investigators say the alleged incidents happened in June 2011 and involved five girls between the ages of three and 12 at two daycares owned by Shifflet’s family.

Shifflet was arrested in July 2011 following a grand jury indictment in the case.

The attorney for Shifflet asked the court for separate trials.

Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said the alleged acts occurred close enough together and were similar enough to be tried together.

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UPDATE 2/27/13 @ 10:45 a.m.
ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Jury selection is underway in the case of an elderly man charged with sexually assaulting several young girls at two daycare facilities in Athens County.

76-year-old Thomas Shifflet, of Glouster, is charged with one count of rape, three counts of gross sexual imposition and one count of misdemeanor sexual imposition.

Investigators say the alleged incidents happened in June 2011 and involved five girls between the ages of three and 12 at two daycares owned by Shifflet’s family.

Shifflet was arrested in July 2011 following a grand jury indictment in the case.

The attorney for Shifflet asked the court for separate trials.

Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said the alleged acts occurred close enough together and were similar enough to be tried together.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 12/24/12 @ 8:55 p.m.
ATHENS COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- An elderly man charged with sexually assaulting young girls at two daycare facilities in Athens County has asked the court for separate trials.

Thomas Shifflet, 75, faces a rape charge, three counts of gross sexual imposition and a misdemeanor charge of sexual imposition. The case involves five girls between ages 3 and 12.

Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said the alleged acts occurred close enough together and were similar enough to be tried together.

Shifflet's trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 22 in Athens County Common Pleas Court.



UPDATE 7/27/11 @ 6:11 p.m.
ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A 74-year-old man, arrested and charged with a rape that allegedly happened at two daycares in Athens County, was in court Wednesday morning.

Athens County Sheriff deputies arrested Thomas Shifflet on Tuesday following his indictment by a grand jury.

Sheriff Patrick Kelly says both daycares are in the Trimble/Dover Township area, and are owned by Shifflet’s children.

Kelly says the charge involves an incident from June 27. Kelly says multiple families have contacted his office, alleging that Shifflet had sexual contact with their children at the daycares. He says the children are all females between the ages of 2 and 5. Both daycares have cooperated with investigators.

During Wednesday’s hearing in Athens County Common Pleas Court, Shifflet pleaded not guilty to one count of rape. His bond was set at $2 million. He will be back in court next month. A trial date was set for Oct. 4.

Shifflet remains in the Southeast Ohio Regional Jail.

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ORIGINAL STORY 7/27/11 @ 8:51 a.m.
ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A 74-year-old man has been arrested and charged with rape in connection with an investigation involving two day care centers in Athens County.

The Athens County Sheriff says deputies arrested Thomas Shifflet on Tuesday following his indictment by a grand jury.

Sheriff Patrick Kelly says multiple families have contacted the Athens County Sheriff's Office, alleging that Shifflet had sexual contact with their children at the daycares in the Trimble/Dover Township area.

Kelly says Shifflet is the father of the daycare owner. Both daycares have cooperated with investigators.

Shifflet was taken to the Southeast Ohio Regional Jail. He is expected to be arraigned on the rape charge in Athens County Common Pleas Court Wednesday.


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