Man accused of rape at church faced prior accusations

Blake Cole, 19, of Harrison Twp., was arrested at the church around 11 p.m. on April 9. He is being held in Montgomery County Jail on a rape charge, in lieu of a $250,000 cash bond.

David Hood, executive pastor of Discipleship and New Church Development at Fort McKinley, a Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church at 3721 Siebenthaler Ave., said he was informed of the December incident shortly after it occurred.

Following the December incident, “Mr. Cole was confronted by church staff and was prohibited from serving in any capacity with children at the church, excluded from access to the children’s wing of the church and directed that he was never to be alone and in contact with any child at any point going forward both for his own safety and the safety of the children,” Hood said.

Prior to the December accusation, Cole was involved with the children’s ministry at the church.

No charges were filed in the December case, in which Cole was accused of touching a 7-year-old girl through her clothing in an inappropriate manner at the church, Hood said.

The parents of the girl who are not being identified by the Dayton Daily News, said although church leaders called the sheriff’s office when they told them about the accusation their daughter had made against Cole, church leaders should have done a better job of protecting the children in the church.

“A month after we had made the allegations, they were having problems keeping him out of the children’s ministry,” said the girl’s mother. “Common sense would tell you to put him with somebody who would be able to watch him a little bit closer.”

When asked how Cole was able to be alone with the boy last week, Hood referred to a written statement that was given to his congregation that said the church works hard to create an emotionally, spiritually and physically safe environment, which includes having paid and armed off-duty deputies at the church each Tuesday and Sunday.

It was a deputy who witnessed the alleged incident between Cole and the boy last Tuesday before someone called 911. The boy was taken to a hospital and later released.

“He knew right from wrong,” said the boy’s father, who is also not being identified, of Cole. “I’m blaming myself because I’m thinking why I couldn’t have protected him.”

Cole’s case will be presented to grand jury.

“We’ll also be presenting some additional information from old cases (to the grand jury),” said Montgomery County Sheriff’s Sgt. M.D. Hutchison. He declined to elaborate on those cases.

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