'It's a con­stant re­minder of the sex­ual as­sault'

Small-town dilemma: Keep­ing at­tack­ers away from their vic­tims.

Dayton Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - By Lawrence Budd Staff Writer

MOR­ROW The 64-year-old jog— ger who was at­tacked on the Lit­tle Mi­ami Trail last year can’t un­der­stand why she has to keep see­ing her at­tacker in the small town where they live just 1.7 miles apart.

“This is in my face every day of my life,” the vic­tim said dur­ing a hear­ing last week in War­ren County Com­mon Pleas Court. “For me to go any­where, I have to go by where he lives.”

“It’s a con­stant re­minder of the sex­ual as­sault.”

The case il­lus­trates the dif­fi­cult balance the courts try to strike be­tween pro­tect­ing vic­tims and pack­ing an al­ready crowded prison sys­tem with sex of­fend­ers. It also shows how chance en­coun­ters be­tween of­fend­ers and vic­tims are far more likely when both live in the same small town.

In July 2017, the vic­tim, who was us­ing the trail to prac­tice for a triathlon, heard a “gut­tural sound” and was grabbed by Barry Motz, a one-time conv icted sex of­fender, who lunged from the brush with his pants down. She was able to break free and run back to her car.

“I am sorry,” he re­port­edly said after she es­caped him.

Motz was ar­rested three months later and served 119 days in jail while await­ing trial. In Fe­bru­ary, he pleaded guilty to gross sex­ual

im­po­si­tion and faced up to 18 months in prison.

In­stead of send­ing Motz to prison, War­ren County Judge Don­ald Oda II sen­tenced him to com­plete an in-pa­tient treat­ment pro­gram and sub­mit to elec­tronic mon­i­tor­ing after re­turn­ing to the com­mu­nity and be­ing des­ig­nated a Tier II sex of­fender.

In ex­plain­ing his de­ci­sion, Oda said he hoped Motz could con­trol his be­hav­ior rather than com­ing out of prison “worse than when you went in.”

Motz’s lawyer, Timothy McKenna, also ar­gued that a foren­sic eval­u­a­tion showed Motz had men­tal prob­lems best han­dled through ther- apy ses­sions at­tended while on pro­ba­tion.

Motz was back in Oda’s court­room last week, as War­ren County Pros­e­cu­tor David Forn­shell re­quested that Motz be forced to move from a house owned by his fam­ily along U.S. 22 & Ohio 3.

Both Motz and the vic­tim live in the Mor­row area, which has a pop­u­la­tion of roughly 1,300 peo­ple.

Motz said he would speak to his fam­ily about find­ing a new place to live, but he also said he has al­ready moved once to ac­com­mo­date the court.

There are no al­le­ga­tions that Motz has vi­o­lated any terms of his pro­ba­tion or was fol­low­ing or stalk­ing the vic- tim, ac­cord­ing to the vic­tim and pro­ba­tion of­fi­cers over­see­ing Motz.

Sex of­fender reg­istry

Motz is among more than 17,300 adult of­fend­ers listed in the Ohio sex of­fender reg­istry, ac­cord­ing to the Ohio At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Of­fice.

Un­der Ohio law, all sex of­fend­ers must regis­ter with law en­force­ment and re­main on a state list any­where from 15 years to a life­time de­pend­ing which tier they are on.

The law also lim­its where sex of­fend­ers can live. They are pro­hib­ited from liv­ing or loi­ter­ing near schools, day care cen­ters or any­where chil- dren gather, as well as from the vic­tim.

The law it­self is con­tro­ver- sial. Barb Wright, an ad­vo­cate with Ohio Ra­tio­nal Sex­ual Of­fense Laws, said one of the prob­lems is the crimi- nal jus­tice sys­tem is ex­pected to keep track of more than 17,000 of­fend­ers — the vast ma­jor­ity, she says, who are un­likely to “re-of­fend.”

She pointed to re­search funded by the U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice that calls for more re­search to de­ter­mine whether regis­tra­tion was ef­fec­tive.

“Re­search to date has ex­hib­ited mixed re­sults,” ac­cord­ing to the con­clu­sion of the Sex of­fender Man­age­ment Assess­ment and Plan­ning Ini­tia­tive Re­search Brief pub­lished in July 2015.

“We need to do a bet­ter job of de­ter­min­ing who is at risk,” Wright said, adding, “In this cir­cum­stance, if this guy is high risk, I don’t blame the vic­tim. This is a scary of­fense when it oc­curs.”

Un­in­tended con­se­quences

Dur­ing last week’s hear- ing, Oda told the vic­tim he had re­ceived her let­ters about the prob­lem and was “open to any and all so­lu­tions in this case.”

He as­sured her Motz was not “a di­rect risk” to her.

“I don’t know that I have a good op­tion other than what we are do­ing now,” Oda said. “It is much bet­ter to have a bad sit­u­a­tion that we are mon­i­tor­ing rather than a sit­u­a­tion where Mr. Motz is driven un­der­ground or he ab­sconds. Or worst-case sce­nario, he re­of­fends.”

Ac­cord­ing to the As­so­ci­a­tion for the Treat­ment of Sex­ual Abusers, re­search shows up to half the of­fend­ers sub­jected to com­mu­nity no­ti­fi­ca­tion “ex­pe­ri­ence un­in­tended con­se­quences such as job loss, hous­ing in­sta­bil­ity, threats or ha­rass­ment, vig­i­lan­tism, or prop­erty dam­age. About 19 per­cent of adult sex of­fend­ers re­port that th­ese neg­a­tive con­se­quences have af­fected other mem­bers of their house­holds.”

The vic­tim says fear of run­ning into Motz has im­pacted her abil­ity to go to the gym or to the gro­cery story.

“It’s not some­thing as the vic­tim that I feel I should be sub­jected to,” she said, not­ing she had re­turned to ther­apy since Motz re­turned to the Mor­row area. “Right now, I still don’t have a way that I can feel com­fort­able.”

Motz was ar­rested based on a DNA match with cloth­ing the vic­tim was wear­ing at the time of the at­tack, the Ohio Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources in­ves­tiga­tive re­port shows. The DNA find­ings also matched a sub­mis­sion from a Jan­uary 2014 rape in­vesti- gation in Goshen, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

In July 2014, Motz was con- victed of sex­ual im­po­si­tion in War­ren County.

Given the cir­cum­stances, As­sis­tant County Pros­e­cu­tor Car­rie Heisele said last week, forc­ing Motz to move is “a small thing we could re­quest.”

Changes un­likely

Ohio’s sex of­fender law has un­der­gone changes through t he years, but none are ex­pected be­fore the cur­rent ses­sion winds up in an­other week.

One pro­posed change in the reg­istry law would add prohi- bi­tions for any­one con­victed of crim­i­nal child en­tice­ment, clas­si­fy­ing the crime as a Tier I sex of­fense when com­mit­ted by a reg­is­tered sex of­fender.

House Bill 374 had one hear- ing in the Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Com­mit­tee in Novem­ber 2017, but no ac­tion has been taken since. The ses­sion is sched- uled to end on Dec. 19.

LINDA WEISENBORN / STAFF

The Lit­tle Mi­ami Multi-Use Trail passes through down­town Mor­row, where both the vic­tim and at­tacker in a July 2017 sex­ual as­sault on the trail now live.

Barry Motz has re­turned to Mor­row after com­plet­ing sex of­fender treat­ment.

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