ELYRIA — James Osborne, who stands accused of asking his girlfriend to rape two children at the day care center where she worked, made a brief appearance in Elyria Municipal Court on Tuesday to waive a preliminary hearing and let complicity to rape and other charges be bound over to a county grand jury.
Osborne’s decision to waive the hearing, during which prosecutors would have had to lay out some of the evidence against him, came just minutes before the proceedings were to begin.
“He waived it because at this time it’s in his best interests,” John Prusak, one of Osborne’s defense attorneys, said after the hearing.
Osborne, 34, will remain jailed in lieu of bonds totaling more than $3 million. Elyria Municipal Court Judge Lisa Locke Graves told Osborne that if he is released from the Lorain County Jail he is barred from using the Internet or having contact with anyone younger than 18.
Osborne’s girlfriend, 25-year-old Heather Koon, also remains behind bars on two counts of rape for allegedly sexually abusing a 1-year-old and a 2-year-old while she was working at ABC Kidz Child Care on Abbe Road in Elyria in March.
Prosecutors have said that Koon committed the rapes at the behest of Osborne, a convicted sex offender who remains on probation for a child pornography conviction.
Prusak said although prosecutors showed him text messages they purport to show Osborne and Koon discussing the rapes, his client denies taking part in any such exchange.
“He denies sending text messages and receiving text messages,” Prusak said.
The still ongoing investigation into Koon and Osborne began Sept. 26 when Lorain County sheriff’s deputies went to Koon’s Blaine Street home in Elyria seeking evidence that Osborne, a registered sex offender, was living there rather that at the Oberlin address he had filed with the county.
Mike Duff, another of Osborne’s attorneys, has said his client was living where he was supposed to be but sometimes spent the night at Koon’s house.
Deputies seized an iPhone and a laptop computer when they arrested Osborne in September and discovered electronic images that indicated that Koon had raped the two children. She was arrested Oct. 4.
Duff has acknowledged that Osborne had a sexually explicit photo of a preteen girl on his phone, but insisted that image was downloaded from the Internet. Prosecutors have said that the images recovered from the phone and computer go beyond online downloads.
Deputies have said they are still investigating, including whether there are additional victims, either at ABC Kidz or the other day care centers where Koon has worked.
“They’re taking their time and doing it right,” Chief Deputy Dennis Cavanaugh said Tuesday.