July 24, 2014

Elyria
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Police: Woman’s ‘stranger’ rape claim not truthful

LORAIN — A woman who told police that she was kidnapped while walking on Long Avenue and then raped last week wasn’t entirely truthful with officers, Lorain police Lt. Roger Watkins said Thursday.

Worthy

The woman initially told police that a stranger, who was possibly armed, grabbed her around 6 p.m. Jan. 9 and took her to a vacant home and sexually assaulted her.

But Watkins said further investigation has led police to conclude that the 18-year-old woman knew her attacker, whom police have identified as 36-year-old Joseph Worthy. He was arrested Friday on rape and kidnapping charges.

Watkins said police still believe a sexual assault took place, but that the woman wasn’t kidnapped off the street as she first claimed. Instead, he said, the evidence indicates that she went to a vacant home to take part in a drug deal.

It was during that drug deal when she was attacked, Watkins said.

After the woman reported the attack, police launched a massive investigation and warned the public to be alert. Watkins said police wanted the public to know that it wasn’t a case of a random woman being abducted off the street and raped.

J. Anthony Rich, Worthy’s attorney, said he had questions about the alleged victim’s story shortly after his client was arrested and was pleased that the police also continued to investigate.

He declined to comment on what his client had told him about what happened Jan. 9, but he said he plans to go forward with a preliminary hearing in Lorain Municipal Court next week to learn more about the evidence against Worthy.

“Obviously we’ll take a look at the circumstances and what the misrepresentations to the police are,” he said.

Rich also said that the woman’s credibility could be damaged when she testifies because she wasn’t completely upfront with police in the beginning.

Worthy, who remained jailed Thursday, has an extensive criminal record that includes convictions on drug, weapons, felonious assault and burglary charges.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.