Bond Modified In Case

COLUMBUS — The bond for Charles Wycuff, the man accused of sexually abusing a minor, was modified by a visiting judge from the Ohio Supreme Court on Tuesday during a hearing at the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.

Wycuff’s bond, which was originally set at $500,000 by Auglaize County Judge Fred Pepple, was changed to $750,000 with a 10 percent cash provision by Judge Dale Crawford. If Wycuff pays $75,000 in cash or as a surety bond, he will be released from the Franklin County Jail and put under house arrest at his residence in Wapakoneta.

As part of the judge’s ruling, Wycuff is allowed to work from home provided he does not leave the residence for any reason. Wycuff is the owner of C&C Weld Fabrication, a metal fabrication company based in Wapakoneta.

He is also to have no contact with the alleged victim in this case, co-defendant Lori Anderson, or any potential witnesses.

If Wycuff is able to post bond, he is ordered to return home within 90 minutes of his release from jail.

It was noted during the hearing that Wycuff’s home contained “a large group of weapons,” which Wycuff’s lawyer Eric Allen said were removed from the residence by a friend of the defendant. Allen said he and his client would welcome the Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office or any other law enforcement agency to search the home to make sure all weapons were removed.

Wycuff is charged with 31 counts of rape, seven counts of gross sexual imposition, 15 counts of sexual battery and one count of pandering sexually-oriented material involving a minor, which are all felonies. The offenses allegedly involved Anderson’s son, who was around 12 years old at the time, and stem from acts committed in 1997, 1998 and 1999. He has pleaded innocent to all charges.

Anderson, who has been suspended without pay from her job as a first grade teacher at Cridersville Elementary School, has pleaded innocent to 12 counts of rape, 10 counts of sexual battery and one count each of gross sexual imposition and obstructing justice, which are all felonies. She is also charged with obstructing official business, which is a misdemeanor. Her offenses all stem from June 1999. She has pleaded innocent and has been out on bond since Nov. 10.

Representing Anderson is attorney Richard Kerger, of Toledo.

Angela Canepa, assistant section chief at the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, is representing the prosecution in this case.

During the hearing, Canepa asked the court to consider Wycuff as a flight risk because he “has the financial means to pick up and go.” Canepa noted that Wycuff indicated he could easily post bond if it was lowered to under $100,000.

Canepa requested the court deny Wycuff’s bond altogether or, at minimum, increase it to $1 million based on “the chronic nature of these offenses and the fact that the defendant admits to being violent towards the victim.”

An investigation by the Auglaize County Department of Job and Family Services substantiated these claims, Canepa said, based on an investigation that found Wycuff had physically abused the alleged victim and his own son, identified in court as “Cody,” from 1990 to 1992.

According to Canepa and Kerger, Wycuff had a son from a previous marriage who was living with he and Anderson at the time the couple were allegedly engaging in sexual abuse toward Anderson’s son.

The majority of sexual and physical violence was directed toward the alleged victim, however.

“Mr. Wycuff very freely acknowledged physical violence towards this child,” Canepa said. “This is not just corporate punishment, these are things like making him eat dog poop, putting him in a dog cage, choking him, throwing objects at him. His own son, Cody, verifies this, as does Miss Anderson.”

Canepa mentioned another instance where, in 2004, Anderson reported to children’s services that she and Wycuff had engaged in sexual activity with the alleged victim.

“Miss Anderson acknowledged she and Mr. Wycuff engaged in sexual intercourse, fellatio, anal sex, cunnilingus, all in the same bed at the same time, although Mr. Wycuff’s allegations start earlier in this child’s life when he was at age 12,” she said.

Canepa said nothing ever came of these allegations because the alleged victim was over 18 at the time of the report, which meant it was no longer in the jurisdiction of job and family services.

“That’s where it died because the victim didn’t come forward himself until he was an adult in 2011,” she said.

Canepa said the Bureau of Criminal Investigation has found “numerous other potential victims,” who can attest to Wycuff’s history of sexual abuse. She said the BCI spoke with the defendant’s sister, who stated she was sexually abused by Wycuff and his brother, Dennis, starting when she was 14. Dennis Wycuff was charged with multiple sex crimes involving minors in the 1980s and 90s and is currently a registered sex offender in Michigan.

Wycuff’s son has also spoken to the prosecution about what he witnessed while living with his father, Anderson and the alleged victim, according to Canepa.

“Cody verifies seeing them go into the bedroom and hearing sounds of a sexual nature,” she said.

As he pleaded his case for bond reduction, Allen mentioned his client has no drug or alcohol issues that would prevent him from being part of the community, and “as a member of the Wapakoneta community, he’s a person who is held in high esteem.”

Although Allen did not state his client denies physically abusing his and Anderson’s son, he said “that is much different than sexually abusing a child in this case,” and that he was never been officially charged with a violent offense.

Allen asked that the court not consider the prosecution’s claims that there are other potential victims because no indictments have been filed.

The alleged victim in this case, Allen said, has a history of “deception and manipulation” stemming from his time in the army and “dysfunctional relationships with women who he used to get money.”

While Canepa said the alleged victim is “very fearful” of Wycuff’s release, Allen said it is unlikely his client would make the situation worse by harming or killing the victim or any potential witness.

Allen also said the court should not consider the prosecution’s claims about Wycuff’s character because that is not what the hearing is about.

“We’re here to determine whether or not he’s going to run, and there’s no indication based on what he did before and after the initial investigation three years ago,” Allen said.

“If he’s out on bond, he’s not going anywhere.”

If Wycuff posts bond and decides to waive time served, which both Allen and Canepa indicated he would, his trial will be set for April 6. If he decides not to post bond and stays in jail, his trial will be held on Feb. 9. Anderson’s trial is set for April 6.