A former professor at Wright State University is jailed on child sex charges stemming from allegations that he abused a child under the age of 7 over a two-year period in Fairborn.
Jonathan Curtis Varhola, 39, is being held in the Greene County Jail on $500,000 bond. A Greene County grand jury has indicted him on five counts of rape and five counts of gross sexual imposition.
Varhola appeared in a video arraignment hearing today in Greene County Common Pleas Court.
Varhola’s attorney Patrick Mulligan said his client denies the charges.
“This has been a case that has gone nowhere basically because of the lack of evidence for about 18 months. We’re very comfortable with the not guilty plea,” Mulligan said.
Varhola was a WSU adjunct faculty member from March 2010 to December 2011, and a sociology and anthropology instructor from January 2012 until his position was eliminated as part of budget cuts in 2017, according to the university.
As an undergraduate, Varhola transferred to WSU from Sinclair Community College in 2001, graduated with a degree in business in 2003, and in 2011 completed a master’s degree program in applied behavioral sciences.
Varhola’s 2003 master’s degree thesis “Discretion Without Choice: Sexual Offender Legislation and Judicial Discretion,” is a study on judicial discretion as measured by sentencing outcomes in sex offender cases in Montgomery and Greene counties.
The crimes of which he is accused allegedly occurred from March 2016 to April 2018; his accuser, now 7, is an unrelated boy known to the defendant, according to Greene County Assistant Prosecutor Bill Morrison.
Morrison said the defendant is accused of abusing the boy in a daycare setting at a private home in Fairborn.
“There were other minors in the residence. It’s unclear whether there were any other unrelated children being cared for at the home,” Morrison said.
The investigation started late last summer when the boy’s father reported to police what his son said happened, Morrison said.
The location of the home where the alleged crimes occurred has not been released.
Morrison said he could not comment at this time as to whether Mulligan lived in the home, nor whether he was ever under investigation prior to the current one.
In a press release, Fairborn police said the investigation was started to look into “possible sex crimes against young juveniles.” The investigation is “still ongoing, in part to determine if there are more victims,” the police statement reads.
“With his arrest, we are hopeful they will come forward,” the police statement reads.
Varhola was arrested by U.S. Marshals at his home in Maryland, where he had relocated, and he was extradited earlier this week to Greene County, according to police.
Mulligan said he’s been representing his client since the investigation began, that children services has been involved and there have been court appearances. He called the extradition unnecessary, a “waste of government resources and taxpayers’ money” because his client would have voluntarily turned himself in if the prosecutor’s office had notified him.
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The allegations “have no merit whatsoever,” Mulligan said.
“There’s not a shred of physical evidence,” he said.
If convicted, the defendant faces a possible maximum penalty of life in prison.
Police ask anyone with information pertinent the investigation to call (937) 754-3000 or the tip line at (937) 754-3018.
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