Former West Milton police officer found guilty in child rape case

Kevin C. Wright
Kevin C. Wright

Credit: Miami County Jail

Credit: Miami County Jail

A Miami County jury Friday found a former West Milton police officer guilty of rape of a girl younger than 13.

Jurors deliberated around eight hours Thursday afternoon and Friday before returning the verdicts in county Common Pleas Court.

Kevin C. Wright, 34, of West Milton faced three felony rape charges. The jury found him guilty of each count along with notation that the victim was under age 13. The girl, in the courtroom for the verdict, hugged a victim advocate.

Wright faces a lifetime in prison on the charges.

Judge Stacy Wall revoked Wright’s bond and he was taken to jail. Defense lawyer Jay Lopez said he had no comment. Prosecutor Tony Kendell said he would withhold comment until sentencing. A sentencing date was not set.

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The three felony rape charges accuse Wright of engaging in sexual conduct with another between Aug. 1, 2017, and June 1, 2018; Aug. 1, 2018, to June 1, 2019; and Dec. 8, 2019. The child was between the ages of 10 and 12 during the alleged offenses.

Wright was the last person to testify in the case Thursday morning.

“Absolutely not. it was like indescribable. I would never do anything like that,” Wright testified when asked by defense lawyer Jay Lopez of his reaction when told of the girl’s allegations by a sheriff’s detective.

Wright said he cooperated with investigators, giving them his cellphone and submitting to a DNA swab when asked. When told by an investigator they were searching the Wright home, Wright said that was OK. “We have absolutely nothing to hide,” he testified

The girl, now 13, told jurors Tuesday she made a comment in December 2019 to a friend who told school officials of suspected abuse. School officials talked with the girl and called police. The case was investigated by sheriff’s detectives.

" I didn’t want it to happen anymore,” the girl said of her comment to the friend.

Wright had been with the West Milton Police Department since September 2018. He previously worked with the Covington Police Department and is a Navy veteran. He was placed on paid administrative leave when an investigation began in December 2019. He was placed on unpaid administrative leave when the indictment was served in 2020. He has since resigned from the department.

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In opening statements Monday, Kendell said evidence would show Wright engaged in sexual conduct with the girl beginning when she was 10. This activity continued until late 2019 when the girl disclosed the abuse, he said.

In closing arguments Thursday, Kendell asked jurors to use common sense and look at testimony about touch DNA and from sexual abuse experts who described child reporting, often first to a peer. The girl, he said, “has no motivation to do anything but to come in here and tell the truth.”

Lopez said the girl had been disciplined in the past for not telling the truth. Prosecutors believe the girl’s story but don’t have the evidence to corroborate it, he said. “What you have is a 12-year-old girl who has admitted she has lied, telling a story and other people trying to justify why this story might be possible,” Lopez said.