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Apr
04
2020
Police

YS man not guilty in rape case

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Jacob Pflanzer, of Yellow Springs, was found not guilty on multiple counts of rape by a Greene County jury late Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 25, following a three-day trial in Xenia.

“I’m glad that the truth came out finally,” Pflanzer, 29, said when asked for comment outside the courtroom after the not guilty verdicts were read.

The jury included eight women and four men, and the trial took place in the courtroom of Judge Steven A. Wolaver in the Greene County Court of Common Pleas.

Planzer was accused of sexually assaulting a then-20-year-old Kettering woman at his South Stafford Street home in April 2018; and a secret indictment was filed against him Nov. 2, 2018, on four counts of rape, a first-degree felony, and one count of gross sexual imposition, a fourth-degree felony. Yellow Springs police conducted the investigation, and Pflanzer, then 28, was arrested by Xenia police on Nov. 8.

The Yellow Springs Police Department became involved in the case after receiving a call from Kettering Medical Center at 8:05 a.m. April 8, 2018, regarding an alleged assault in Yellow Springs. The woman was an acquaintance of Pflanzer, according to dispatch records. The case was assigned to Sgt. Naomi Watson of YSPD, who first met with the woman on April 9, 2019, at the Kettering Police Department.

The trial began on Monday, Sept. 23, and Sgt. Watson sat with Greene County assistant prosecutors David Morrison and Cheri Stout for the duration.

At trial, Pflanzer’s attorney, Adam Arnold of Dayton, argued that the sexual conduct that took place was consensual. In his opening statement, Asst. Prosecutor Morrison also addressed the issue and said that the case came down to judging whom to believe.

“When you have an alleged sexual assault where one says it’s consensual and the other says it’s not, someone is not telling the whole story,” Morrison said.

Arnold also argued there were inconsistencies in the woman’s story and that the woman’s build relative to the accused suggested she could have resisted unwanted sexual contact. In addition, he argued that the YSPD investigation was flawed because photos of the woman were not taken, one witness was not interviewed and the woman’s boyfriend was not asked to provide a statement, among other issues cited.

“The investigation was incomplete, if you can call it an investigation,” Arnold said.

The state presented physical evidence showing injuries they argued were consistent with sexual assault, including bite marks and scratches along with testimony from the woman who said she did not consent to the acts.

“She’s telling him no, she’s saying ouch, she’s conveying pain,” Morrison explained in his opening statement.

“I felt taken advantage of,” the woman said in her testimony.

In her testimony, the woman said that around 3 a.m. April 8, 2018, she drove to Pflanzer’s home in Yellow Springs for what she thought was a gathering of friends. Instead she said she found only Pflanzer there, along with one other person who was asleep on the couch. The woman described him pushing her against a kitchen countertop and then into his bedroom, where she said he held her down by the wrists during the alleged assault. She added that she was crying and telling him to stop while “frozen” in panic.

Pflanzer did not testify, but said in a phone call with the woman, conducted with Yellow Springs police listening without his knowledge, that he did not hear her say no or cry during the incident. And in a later interview with YSPD, he told Sgt. Watson that the woman did not push him away.

“I didn’t notice. I apologize,” Pflanzer said during the controlled call. “If there’s anything I can do, let me know.”

Reached by phone for comment after the verdict, Yellow Springs Police Chief Brian Carlson said he stood by the quality of the local police department’s investigation.

Read the Oct. 3 print edition of the YS News for a full story.

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