December 22, 2014

Elyria
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James Osborne says Heather Koon acted on her own in day care sex abuse case

James Osborne

James Osborne

Heather Koon

Heather Koon

ELYRIA — Convicted sex offender James Osborne’s attorney wrote in a court filing Monday that his client’s fiancee acted on her own when she allegedly sexually abused children at the day care centers where she worked.

“The Defendant will offer evidence that Co-Defendant Heather Koon perpetrated these crimes of her own volition without the complicity of this Defendant who was not present when Co-Defendant Koon carried out the offenses alleged in Co-Defendant Koon’s indictment,” attorney Mike Duff wrote.

Duff declined to comment on what evidence would show Koon acted alone.

Koon’s attorney, Dan Wightman, however, said that the idea that his client wasn’t spurred on by Osborne doesn’t comport with the evidence, including text messages, that he’s seen.

“The evidence the prosecutor has is overwhelming that she was operating at James Osborne’s direction,” Wightman said.

During an October court hearing, Assistant Lorain County Prosecutor Tony Cillo said the investigation hadn’t showed that Osborne was with Koon when she allegedly sexually abused children at ABC Kidz Child Care in Elyria, but he was nevertheless involved.

“We have a substantial amount of evidence showing that he was soliciting and aiding and abetting and they were being done at his behest by phone,” Cillo said in October.

In addition to raping four children at ABC Kidz, Koon is also accused of victimizing a child at the Country Day School in Amherst, where she worked after leaving the Elyria day care center.

Lorain County sheriff’s deputies learned of the abuse after arresting Osborne, a registered sex offender, in September on allegations he was living in Koon’s Elyria home rather than at the Oberlin address he had listed with the county.

During the arrest, deputies seized an iPhone and a laptop computer and discovered images on the electronics of the sexual abuse. Koon was arrested days later.

Koon has pleaded not guilty to the charges and Wightman has previously said that his client’s relationship with Osborne will be a key part of the case.

Osborne has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, and Duff has said his client hears voices.

Both remain incarcerated at the Lorain County Jail, where Osborne has had to deal with several disagreements with fellow inmates, including an incident last week in which another prison threw liquid feces on his cell door.

Koon and Osborne could each receive life prison sentences if convicted of the charges they face.

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