By Caleb Bissinger
Former Kenyon student Stephen Zingarelli, 21, of Mars, Pa., was indicted on Jan. 7 by the Knox County grand jury on one count of rape and one count of gross sexual imposition. He pled not guilty at his arraignment last week. Jury selection is scheduled to begin in March. Zingarelli, who was a senior, has since left Kenyon.
The prosecution alleges that on Dec. 6, 2012, Zingarelli used force to engage in sexual conduct with a Kenyon student. If convicted of rape, a first-degree felony, he faces a minimum of five years imprisonment, according to Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jennifer Springer.
In addition, Zingarelli has been charged with gross sexual imposition unwanted sexual contact by use of force a fourth-degree felony that carries up to 18 months in prison.
Detective David Light of the Knox County Sheriffs Office issued a warrant for Zingarellis arrest on Dec. 14. After being taken into custody, he was later released on a $50,000 bond.
Dean of Students Hank Toutain declined to comment on whether the Colleges Conduct Review Board had been investigating any allegations against Zingarelli prior to his leaving, citing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which protects student records.
After a preliminary hearing on Dec. 18, the Mount Vernon Municipal Court deemed there was probable cause and transferred the case to the Knox County Court of Common Pleas pending the grand jurys indictment.
While the proceedings in the Court of Common Pleas are set to begin in March, dont look for him to go to trial at that first trial date, Springer said. Under Ohio law, the prosecution has 270 days to bring the case to court.
Springer, who declined to comment on case specifics, did say that a lot can change in the pre-trial phase. Whether we come to some sort of plea negotiations with the defendant or if we have a trial in this matter, well have to see what the evidence shows.
Zingarellis attorney, James Giles 78, said he would not comment until the case is closed.