ELYRIA — A 32-count indictment has been handed down against Heather Koon, accusing her of raping four children while she was working at ABC Kidz Child Care in Elyria earlier this year.
Koon, 25, could spend the rest of her life behind bars if convicted of 12 counts of kidnapping, four counts each of rape, pandering obscenity involving a minor, pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor and illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material. She also faces two counts of conspiracy and single counts of tampering with evidence and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.
Assistant Lorain County Prosecutor Dave Muhek said Koon’s fiance, convicted sex offender James Osborne, also has been indicted on roughly 50 charges, including complicity to rape and complicity to kidnapping. Koon’s indictment indicated that Osborne was engaging in the same pattern of corrupt activity as she was.
The exact charges against Osborne, 34, were not made public Thursday because he had yet to be served with the indictment, Muhek said.
Prosecutors have said that Koon raped the children at the day care center on Abbe Road at the behest of Osborne, who has a previous conviction for possession of child pornography.
Mike Duff, Osborne’s attorney, said the charges against his client are excessive.
“I’m sorry to hear that they’re overcharging and overindicting. I think it’s much simpler than that,” Duff said. “My understanding is that he did not actually participate in any molestation.”
Lorain County sheriff’s deputies and probation officers arrested Osborne on Sept. 26 when they went to Koon’s Blaine Street home in Elyria to investigate whether he was living with her rather than at the Oberlin address he had registered with the county. Duff has said Osborne spent some nights at Koon’s house but otherwise was living where he was registered.
Deputies seized an iPhone and a laptop computer during Osborne’s arrest and discovered electronic images of Koon engaged in sexual acts with children, and she was arrested Oct. 4. Duff has acknowledged that Osborne had an explicit image of a preteen girl on his phone but has insisted that image was downloaded from the Internet.
Prosecutors have said that the evidence they’ve found indicates that the child pornography recovered from the phone and computer went beyond being downloaded from the Internet.
Although deputies were initially able to identify two of the victims, a 1-year-old and a 2-year-old, Muhek said the video evidence recovered during the investigation led to two more victims, who were close to the same age as the previously identified victims. One victim was slightly older, he said.
All of those victims were from ABC Kidz on Abbe Road, although deputies have said they are investigating whether Koon may have molested children at other day care centers where she has worked.
“The investigation continues. It’s ongoing,” Muhek said.
Osborne sent a letter to The Chronicle-Telegram last month in which he complained that previous stories about the case haven’t noted that he and Koon are engaged.
“Heather + I have been engaged since March 2013 + and still are,” Osborne wrote in his letter from the Lorain County Jail, where he and Koon are being held.
Dan Wightman, Koon’s lawyer, said to his knowledge Koon and Osborne are engaged and that their relationship will likely be a factor in the case.
“It’s going to be important to determine the individual culpability of the defendants,” he said. “(Their relationship) had an effect on how she acted and what she did.”
Duff said the engagement had nothing to do with sexual abuse.
“Their relationship did not include molesting little children,” he said.