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Springfield Twp. 14-year-old accused of rape

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Posted at 7:20 PM, Oct 27, 2021

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story authored by our WCPO Team conflated the magistrate who initially ordered that the boy remain on home monitoring. The previous version of the story also erroneously reported the reason the home monitoring guidance was violated.

CINCINNATI — A 14-year-old Springfield Township boy, accused of raping an 11-year-old neighbor, will remain in juvenile detention until a hearing on November 8 to decide whether or not he will move in with a relative in Middletown and remain on electronic monitoring, or stay in juvenile detention.

A court decision to allow him to be electronically monitored from home was controversial and a recent violation of that allowance sparked an emergency hearing on Wednesday, and another hearing Thursday.

After an initial hearing last week, Hamilton County Juvenile Court Magistrate Kendra Cameron ordered the 14-year-old to be electronically monitored from his home, not knowing that his alleged victim lived within a block of his home.

The Springfield Township Police said in a statement that it told the prosecutor of the defendant's proximity to the alleged victim.

"With the suspect admitting to our investigator that an offense occurred, and the close proximity of the suspect and the victim, we contacted the prosecutor with the information to ensure the magistrate knew for the initial hearing the following day of the arrest," the statement read.

Cameron said her decision to allow the boy to stay at home was in part based on his young age.

"He will be a member of society again and so I am not going to lock him up now and prevent him from growing in ways that we know incarceration affects children," she said.

The boy allegedly violated the conditions of his initial electronic monitoring from home before he was ordered by Judge Kari Bloom to move in with a relative in Middletown under electronic monitoring. That order was called into question and a hearing Thursday punted the decision to the hearing on November 8 about whether the boy would be allowed to move in with the relative on home monitoring or if he should remain in juvenile detention.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters released a statement on Wednesday opposing the decision to allow the boy to remain with family for the time being.

"We believe the safety of the community should be the major concern in holding a defendant," Deters wrote. "Outside of murder, the forcible rape of a little kid is the most serious crime you can commit. It shouldn’t matter if the defendant lives on Mars. Based on these sickening facts alone, he should be locked up. When the judge knew the defendant violated the stay-away order, she still let him out. And now, she believes it appropriate to place him out of county, in a home with young children."

Bloom disagreed and said she believes moving the boy a county away from his victim doesn't make the community any less safe, though she said she is taking the case seriously.

"This is a serious case," she said. "Finding out they live on the same street made it more serious to me."

She said she doesn't want any encounters between the two to retraumatize the alleged victim, but reiterated that the proximity issue wasn't raised in the first hearing when he was allowed to stay home.

A tape of the boy's first court appearance revealed the prosecutor in the case didn't inform the judge that the victim was his neighbor.