Judge to rule on teen’s statements to police

Date set for 15-year-old’s trial for delinquency in connection to rape.

The bathrooms at Olander Park in Sylvania, where a rape is reported to have occurred.
The bathrooms at Olander Park in Sylvania, where a rape is reported to have occurred.

Lucas County Juvenile judge said she will decide on a motion to throw out statements a teenager made to Sylvania police before he and a 17-year-old go on trial next month for allegedly raping a 15-year-old girl at Olander Park.

Judge Connie Zemmelman on Tuesday set a date of Nov. 13 for the 15-year-old’s trial for delinquency in connection to rape. The one-day trial for his co-defendant, who is accused of delinquency in connection with rape and kidnapping, was scheduled for Nov. 20.

The trial dates were scheduled following a hearing in which Judge Zemmelman heard testimony on a motion filed by the younger teen's attorney, Ron Wingate, to suppress statements he gave to police Sept. 17, the day after the girl reported she had been raped at the park.

The teen, who turned 15 three days later, was arrested at Southview High School, where he is a sophomore.

Detective Laura Bliss told the court that she advised the teenager of his Constitutional rights, including that he could have an attorney present, before they began talking in an interview room at the police department.

She said she believed he understood what she had read to him and he signed a document confirming he was giving up his right to have an attorney.

Detective Bliss said during the one-hour interview, the teenager never asked for an attorney or his parents.

However, the teen’s father, who was called as a witness by Mr. Wingate, told Judge Zemmelman that he tried to talk to his son while he was being questioned but was turned away by a police captain.

He said he arrived at the police department about 3:30 p.m., more than an hour after his son’s arrest at the high school, and was told that his son was charged with rape.

He said he was notified by school officials about 3 p.m. of the arrest and immediately went to the department.

He said a captain told him that he couldn't talk to his son and he said that officer also refused to relay a message to his son that he wanted him to stop talking to investigators.

“My son is only 14. He is immature. I am his father. He shouldn't be making that decision,” he said when asked about his son waiving his Miranda rights.

The boy’s father said he went outside the police building and called an attorney who agreed to make a call to investigators on his behalf. He said he remained at the department until 5:30 p.m and was never allowed to see his son.

Judge Zemmelman set a Nov. 4 deadline for attorneys to file written arguments on the motion to suppress.

Contact Mark Reiter at: markreiter@theblade.com or 419-724-6199.