Van Wert County Man Charged With Burglary, Rape, Identity Theft

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An Van Wert man has been charged with the alleged, burglary, rape and identity theft of a local woman.

Aaron Joseph, 26, was arraigned in Athens County Common Pleas Court on Thursday, pleading not guilty to one count each of burglary, rape, sexual battery and identity fraud, all felony counts of varying degrees.

Joseph is accused of going to the residence of a woman, compelling her to "submit by force or threat of force" to engage in sexual conduct and engaging in the sexual conduct when the alleged victim "submitted because she was unaware that the act was being committed," according to the indictment, filed June 9.

In court, defense attorney Doug Francis said the victim claimed she was asleep at the time of the offense, but that Joseph denies the claim to be true.

The burglary charge was added because Joseph allegedly entered the victim's bedroom without her consent, Francis said.

He is also charged with allegedly using the victim's "personal identifying information … with intent to hold himself out to be (the woman)."

Judge George McCarthy continued the $105,000 bond that had been set in Athens County Municipal Court before the case was bound over to common pleas court.

While no other cases were present in the Common Pleas database under Joseph's name, he faced charges of assault, obstructing official business and possession of marijuana in cases from 2009 and 2010 in municipal court. The assault charge was dismissed in municipal court, but he was found guilty of the obstructing justice and possession of marijuana.

Joseph remains incarcerated in the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail.

A July 21 pre-trial hearing was scheduled, and a jury trial was scheduled for Aug. 12.