December 19, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
30°F
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Rape suspect defending himself in county court

ELYRIA — A Cleveland man is defending himself against a rape charge in a trial that began Wednesday before Lorain County Common Pleas Judge James Burge.

Jeremiah Charlton, 52, is accused of sexually assaulting a 67-year-old woman inside her Lorain home on May 28 after meeting her while she was mowing her lawn.

According to police, the victim told officers she allowed Charlton to come inside because he was wearing scrubs and had promised to treat her sick dogs. Charlton allegedly tried to remove the woman’s housecoat. She went upstairs, and Charlton allegedly raped her when she came downstairs.

When the woman’s son and daughter came to the house after the alleged attack, they found Charlton sitting on a couch in the living room. Before he left, he wrote down his name and phone number, information police used to track him down and arrest him. When he was interviewed by police, Charlton told officers the sex was consensual.

Attorney Dave Nehr, who is advising Charlton during the trial, said he warned his former client about the risks of representing himself, but Charlton was insistent upon acting as his own lawyer, which is known in legal circles as a pro se.

“He’s doing very well,” Nehr said. “He’s trying his best to follow the rules of evidence. He’s holding his own, especially for a pro se, and I’m helping him as best I can.”

Although Nehr isn’t allowed to ask questions or object during the trial, he can offer legal advice to Charlton.

The trial resumes today.