Ottawa County Prosecutor Mark Mulligan is maintaining a wall of silence between his office and questions about decisions he's made in a number of court cases, including the arrests of hotel employees on Put-in-Bay to plea deals that caught victims of violent crime off guard when the details of sentencing recommendations were reported.
McClain Durst, who has a history of sexual criminal behavior allegedly raped a teenager in his car earlier this year. He was convicted on a misdemeanor contributing charge in March and is set to be released from prison later this week.
Meanwhile, charges are pending against two Put-in-Bay Resort employees arrested in September after a strange incident involving Mulligan. A PIB police officer charged the employees with obstruction after telling them he'd been authorized by Mulligan to make the arrests if they refused to talk with him.
PIB police Chief Ric Lampela and island Mayor Margaret Scarpelli ditched a hearing related to the arrests scheduled last week in Ottawa County Municipal Court that Judge Frederick 'Fritz' Hany ordered them to attend. It's unclear whether the hearing was re-scheduled or if any action was taken after the mayor and chief missed the court hearing.
The owners of PIB Resort said Lampela has targeted the hotel and other businesses over the years. It's not clear whether the PIB Village Council has reviewed the complaints from hotel owners about mistreatment from the police department.
Original post, July 4, 2014, noon:
Mark Mulligan refuses to talk about a convicted sexual offender set to be released from prison one week from today.
McClain Durst, 25, of Sandusky, spent just four months in Mansfield's Richland Correctional Institution for his role in an alleged rape of a teen in Oak Harbor earlier this year.
Mulligan also declined to answer questions or make a comment about Durst back in May. He also has not allowed anyone from the Ottawa County prosecutor's office to comment.
Durst, who has a history of sexual misconduct against teenage girls, was charged in March with contributing to the unruliness of a minor, a misdemeanor.
It's unclear why Durst was charged with a misdemeanor before his DNA was ever collected, and Mulligan dodged questions from the Register again Thursday.
In early February, Ottawa County deputies caught wind of the latest incident, after the victim’s friends told a school resource officer that the teenager said Durst raped her. The officer contacted Oak Harbor police, who in turn asked deputies to investigate.
Ottawa County Detective Amy Gloor investigated the case, conducted several interviews and gathered a variety of evidence that show Durst had been communicating with the victim for some time.
"He wasn't supposed to be talking with minors at all," Gloor said in May.
Seminal fluid was found on the victim's garments, according to the report, although Durst's DNA was never collected.
Durst told Gloor an examination of the garments would not find any seminal fluid, according to the report.
Gloor continued to gather evidence but she was forced to take an extended sick leave as the investigation was pending.
With Gloor on leave, Mulligan struck the deal with Durst in early March, according to the report. Gloor said she came back to work about two months later to find the case closed.
Gloor was not critical of Mulligan, but she suggested the decision seemed odd.
"It's not the normal way an investigation (goes)," Gloor said in May.
The victim said Durst had been "snap chatting" her — referring to a social media and photo-sharing application in which photos disappear a few seconds after users send them.
She said she did not know Durst before the “snap chats.” She told deputies she was “kind of” dating Durst for a brief time, although she pointed out that the relationship was not sexual.
Durst proceeded to follow the girl places, the victim told Gloor, and one night followed her to a gas station after work.
He asked the her to get in his car because it was cold. She agreed because she was not skeptical of him at the time, the report said.
The teenager said Durst then forcibly raped her in the vehicle, the report said.
Durst will be released from prison July 11, according to a Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokeswoman.
He will spend an undetermined amount of time on post-release control, she said.
Durst’s first prison stint stemmed from sex crimes in Sandusky and Seneca counties. About four years ago, he was indicted in Sandusky County on three counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and, in Seneca County, one count of the same offense.
He was sentenced to 52 months in prison. He started his sentence on Jan. 29, 2010, and was released on parole on June 21, 2013 — about 11 months early, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections.