Updated Tue, Nov 19, 2013 9:28 am
The prosecution has responded to a motion to seal the record of a former Ohio University student acquitted of rape but convicted of tampering with evidence.
Matthew C. Kulchar, 25, of Dublin, is asking the Athens County Common Pleas Court that the record be sealed in the 2009 case which he was unsuccessful in appealing and for which he served seven months of a three-year prison sentence. A jury found him innocent of raping and kidnapping a female student but guilty of tampering with evidence.
Kulchar had admitted to the two having sex but argued it was consensual.
Kulchar was found guilty of texting his friend after the alleged rape and asking the friend to destroy the Spongebob Squarepants boxers he’d been wearing that night, the Messenger reported.
The defense attorney in the case, Bob Toy, argued that the records of the rape and kidnapping charges be sealed. He challenged how Kulchar could be convicted of complicity to tampering when no one was charged with tampering.
Kulchar said “the sealing of the record of these charges would be consistent with the public interest,” court documents stated.
Toy filed the motion to seal the record in February of 2013, but the state did not file a response until Oct. 8.
“It’s improper under the law to seal the case based on the conviction on one count in the case,” Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said on Monday.
Kulchar attempted to appeal the sentence in the 4th District Court of Appeals, during which bond was granted to keep him out of jail, but the appeals court found that the decision of the lower court should stand.
After about seven months in jail, Kulchar was granted early release from prison by now-retired Judge Michael Ward, the same judge that had sentenced him to his time in prison.
Kulchar was released on the condition that he be on a five-year period of community control, complete 500 hours of community service, complete a program at the Southeastern Probation Treatment Alternative Center, obtain and maintain employment and abstain from alcohol and establishments where alcohol is sold by the drink, according to court records.
The prosecution added a supplement to the record on Nov. 18, which gave more case law, as requested by the court, supporting its position that the case “may not have the record of the dismissed charges in this case sealed while (Kulchar) was convicted of another charge in the same indictment.”
A ruling by Judge George McCarthy has yet to be entered.
Toy could not be reached for comment on Monday.