The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

October 9, 2008

Girl, 11, testifies against rape defendant

Timothy Poling was indicted Sept. 18 on two rape charges plus 25 counts of gross sexual imposition

JEFFERSON — Jury members in the rape trial of Timothy Poling, 40, of Dorset Township, heard sordid details Wednesday from an 11-year-old girl who alleges she was molested by the defendant from 2002 to 2005.

The sexual abuse is alleged to have begun when she was only 4.

More witnesses for the prosecution are expected to testify as the trial continues today in Common Pleas Court. Judge Ronald Vettel is presiding.

Poling was indicted Sept. 18 on two rape charges plus 25 counts of gross sexual imposition. He is being represented by attorney David Per Due of Madison.

Representing that state are assistant county prosecutors Margaret Draper and Gene Barrett. Sitting with the two attorneys is Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Rose, chief investigator for Ashtabula County Children Services Board.

The victim testified several hours Tuesday afternoon that Poling touched her improperly numerous times between April 2002 and November 2005, showed her a porno film and other pornography. The young witness told the jury Poling, whom she called “Grandpa Tim,” first began by touching her with his hands or rubbing her back, and then performed lewd acts.

Now in the sixth grade, the child spoke quietly and, at times, cried during questioning by Barrett and under cross-examination by Per Due. She told the jury the sex acts occurred in her grandmother’s trailer-home during weekends when she visited there.

Other prosecution witnesses were Lisa Szparaga of Albion, Pa., and the girl’s mother, Chastity Eichele of Cranesville, Pa.

Szparaga, a close friend of Eichele, was also the victim’s baby-sitter. She spoke of being the first person to learn of the sex-related incidents when the child confided in her on Nov. 19, 2005. Szparaga said Poling at the time lived with the victim’s paternal grandmother, Debbie Cunningham, in Pierpont Township.

Szparaga didn’t inform Eichele about the alleged crime for two days after her conversation with the girl.

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