Crews demolish riverfront Sugarcreek Twp. home of child sex offender

Crews today demolished a home in Sugarcreek Twp. that was at risk of falling into the Little Miami River. The property was the former home of a sex offender who was convicted last year of an offense involving a child.

The home on Washington Mill Road fell into disrepair following the January 2017 conviction of Harold Stookey.

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The 67-year-old was a registered sex offender from a 2001 gross sexual imposition conviction when he was found guilty of sexual battery. The victim was younger than 8 at the time of the offenses from 2014-16.

Credit: Chuck Hamlin

Credit: Chuck Hamlin

Stookey is serving a 10-year prison sentence. His former home was condemned by health officials within the last six months, and it was recently purchased at auction for $100 by the Little Miami River Conservancy, according to the nonprofit organization’s executive director Eric Partee.

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“It eventually would have (collapsed into the river), and we wanted to get it taken care of before it happened,” Partee said. “Our role as it has been for 50 years is to tear down old structures and plant trees so people who are canoeing can enjoy the beauty.”

The heavy equipment activity today disturbed the peaceful riverfront property, but it was a welcome sight for Rhett Rohrer, owner of Rivers Edge Canoe and Kayak Outfitters.

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“The prettier the water is, the better it is. People want a nice wilderness environment,” Rohrer said.

Demolition work will continue over the next few weeks, and the property is expected to be cleaned up by the spring.

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