Bail reduced for school custodian charged with raping young child

Attorney, family cite lack of criminal record, “weak” case; alleged victim’s mother said school didn’t take report seriously.

TROY — Bail for a suspended Milton-Union schools custodian facing felony charges including rape of a child younger than 10 was reduced Wednesday to $300,000 cash or surety from $800,000 in Miami County Common Pleas Court.

Jerry North, 59, of West Milton, was arrested by police after a complaint alleging he had inappropriate interactions with a child while working as the school custodian between 2018 and 2021.

He has pleaded not guilty to three counts of felony rape, two counts of felony gross sexual imposition and one felony count of intimidation of a witness or victim.

Attorneys for North sought a reduction in bail set at his initial arraignment in county Municipal Court and continued in Common Pleas Court following indictment by a county grand jury.

Credit: Miami County Jail

Credit: Miami County Jail

Attorney Anthony Comunale of Dayton said the bail was excessive.

He called one witness Wednesday, Angie Long of Troy, who said she is one of North’s siblings. She said their family is tight knit and that her brother has no prior criminal record, volunteered for charities including through the church and would not be a flight risk to avoid the allegations. She was accompanied in court by around 20 people identified as North’s family and friends.

Neither North nor family could post the $800,000, Wall was told.

Comunale said North had never been in jail and, in remarks, called the case against him “weak.”

In the motion, Comunale wrote that allegations against North earlier were investigated administratively by the school district and North “was found not responsible.”

Prosecutors requested substantial bail, said Matthew Joseph, an assistant prosecutor, adding that North is accused of “raping a victim under age 10 a number of times while at school.”

Wall said she reviewed the factors required in setting bail including the nature of a crime, if a weapon was used (none was alleged), confirmation of the defendant identity by the alleged victim (which Joseph said occurred) and the defendant’s prior criminal record.

If bail is posted, North will be required to wear a GPS monitor, have no unsupervised contact with juveniles and cannot be in or around school property while the case is pending, Wall said.

North’s pretrial hearing was scheduled for July 10.

West Milton police reports show they were contacted about the allegations on April 23 by the parent of the alleged victim. She said suspicious behavior had been reported to school administrators previously but allegedly not taken seriously.

She approached police after her son made a comment recently about North and alleged he had inappropriate sexual contact with him on school property when he was younger.

The child was interviewed by investigators and charges filed May 2.

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