In the second go-around for an alleged rape case, the defendant, Andrew Frank, was found not guilty by the jury on Aug. 23.
Frank, 21, had been tried back in February, but the jury was hung in the case. He was charged with two counts of felony rape, after being accused of raping a then 17-year old girl on March 29, 2016.
The girl lived in Loveland and went to the high school. Frank went to St. Xavier High School.
The case was decided in Clermont County Common Pleas Court before Judge Anthony Brock. Clermont County Prosecutor Scott O’Reilly and Assistant Prosecutor Katie Terpstra re-tried the case, starting on Aug. 20 and by Aug. 23, after a few hours of deliberations, the jury consisting of eight women and four men, found Frank not guilty on all charges, including lesser charges of sexual battery.
Frank and his defense team stood, hugging and crying as the verdicts were read. The girl and her family had already left the courtroom, also in tears, by that point.
The act was caught on a 27-second video by Frank’s friend at the time, Blake Freeman, at Freeman’s apartment in Milford. Three other videos were taken in the immediate aftermath of the incident. All the videos were deleted, but later recovered on the cloud.
Freeman testified that he heard the girl during the incident say, “Andrew, you have to stop.”
The state’s argument was that the girl was not able to consent to Frank and that Frank used force on her by moving her legs into position. Additionally, the state brought in social workers and nurses who had interviewed and examined the girl. This included a two-hour rape kit examination, involving invasive swabs of private parts.
Part of O’Reilly’s closing argument highlighted this point: If it was consensual sex, why would the victim go through this kind of ordeal in the aftermath of the incident?
After both sides gave closing statements, The Sun caught up with Frank’s defense team, consisting of Adam Bleile and Chelsea Pille, who represented Frank in the first case. Pille also represented him in the second case.
Anna Mallory also represented Frank and gave the closing statement in the second case, but she wasn’t present in the room with The Sun.
Bleile talked about the strategy the defense team went into the second case with.
“When we originally had this case, there was such a massive volume of information to go through, you’re looking to try to find out what’s important and you make your best guesses. It was actually after the first trial, Richard [a paralegal] stumbled on hearing something because it’s such bad audio. And he heard about, ‘Get a condom,’” Bleile said.
One of the defense’s central argument in the case was that the girl during the act had said, “Stop…stop” because she wanted Frank to “get a condom.” That’s the bit of audio the paralegal picked up on and the defense team had cleaned up and had special audio equipment brought in to the jury room for them to hear.
It proved effective.
O’Reilly said the jury heard audio of the recording and believed that she was consenting and that she requested a condom.
“I still do not hear that, but they did,” he said. “They believed she was ‘drunk,’ which I would question whether she could consent, but they found that she could and she did or that there was at least a question of whether she did or not.”
Since the case has been adjudicated criminally, the only other recourse for the girl and her family would be a civil case, but Scott said he believes “the victim has had enough.”
The girl and her family did not wish to speak to the media.
Frank and his family also declined.