Jefferson man guilty in rape case; charges stem from March 1990

JEFFERSON — A man was found guilty Friday of raping a woman when she was a child and young adult in the 1990s.

Robert Fast, 56, of Dwight Avenue, Ashtabula, formerly of Jefferson, was found guilty on four counts of rape after a jury deliberated for more than eight hours. Fast, who could face a maximum of 75 years in prison, will be sentenced at a later time.

County Prosecutor Nicholas Iarocci said Assistant Prosecutor Cecilia Cooper successfully prosecuted and tried the case and “did an outstanding job doing so.”

Fast had originally faced eight counts of rape. His case first went to trial in May, but one count was dismissed and a jury found him not guilty on three of the counts, Cooper said.

“The judge declared a hung jury but allowed us to try the four counts which they were unable to reach a verdict on,” Cooper said.

The jury during the second trial, comprised of eight men and four women, deliberated until after 10 p.m. Friday night, court officials said. The verdict was filed in the clerk’s office Monday morning.

The charges stem from several incidents dating from March 1990, when the victim was just 9 years old and Fast was 30, to May 2000, when she was was 20 years old, according to the indictment. 

The victim came forward to her mother and family members in 2017, about 28 years after the rapes.

In Ohio the statute of limitations in rape cases is currently 25 years from the time a victim turns 18 in cases where the victim was a juvenile.

Fast, and his attorney William Bobulsky, who could not be reached for comment, filed a motion to dismiss the case based on questions regarding the statute of limitations, and also whether the court had jurisdiction over one count of rape in the case. Judge Thomas Harris overruled the motion to dismiss.

On March 9, 1999 the statute of limitations was changed from six years to 20 years, and the victim in this case turned 18 on March 24, 1999.

The statute of limitations in place at the time the victim reached adulthood was 20 years, and the indictment was filed in April 2018 before it was exhausted, court records state.

“It is at this time that the statute of limitations began to run,” Harris wrote.

The victim’s mother previously reported that Fast had convinced the victim that no one would believe her if she told, that he had the power to take away her mother and sister and as she got older, she suppressed what happened.

Cooper said although there was no DNA evidence or corroborating witnesses, the victim was able to go into great detail about the rapes and where they occurred.

The victim was able to describe Fast’s apartment in very specific detail although he claimed she had never been there, Cooper said.

The fourth rape occurred at a pool in Roaming Shores and the victim was able to describe in detail what Fast was wearing and he confirmed details about his clothing, Cooper said.

“The victim is an extremely compelling woman,” Cooper said. “She could remember all the events in detail.”

Fast was also confronted by others after the victim came forward who claimed he had abused them, the victim's mother previously reported to the Star Beacon. Cooper said she is unaware of anyone but the victim accusing Fast of rape.

The victim, who testified during the trial, reported the crimes to Jefferson Police. Cooper said Jefferson Police and Sgt. Aaron Dumperth deserve credit for their work on the case as does the jury, Cooper said.

“We are very grateful to the jury who obviously paid very close attention to the evidence that was presented,” Cooper said. 

This story was edited to reflect that the prosecutor's office is unaware of anyone but the victim accusing Fast of rape.

Recommended for you