Arrest Made in Athens Serial Sex Offender Case

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After “a major breakthrough,” investigators of Athens’ longstanding serial sex offender case say they’ve made an arrest in connection with the case.

Shawn Lawson, Jr.
Shawn Lawson, Jr.

In a release Monday night, the Athens Police Department, the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office stated Shawn J. Lawson, Jr., 26, of Hawks Nest Road , was arrested on three counts of kidnapping, three counts of felonious assault, one count of attempted rape, two counts of rape and two counts of aggravated burglary.

The charges date from June 2006 to December 2015.

The investigation has been ongoing since early 2016, when Athens Police Chief Tom Pyle declared that the suspect was being considered a serial sex offender.

The cases were reported to have occurred on June 11, 2006, June 20, 2015, and Dec. 12, 2015. Police say the assaults occurred under “similar circumstances,” with the female victims walking home alone from the uptown area early in the morning, according to previous WOUB reporting.

Phenotype Serial Rapist_ featured imageAt the January 2016 press conference, Pyle asked that anyone that was in the uptown area during the late hours of Dec. 11 and early morning hours of Dec. 12 and took photos while uptown, to provide the photos to police.

Lawson Jr. is set to appear before Athens County Common Pleas Judge George P. McCarthy at noon.

Lawson is being held at the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail without bond.

A press conference is also being held Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the Athens County Courthouse, with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Athens Police Chief Tom Pyle and Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn.