Created on Monday, 07 October 2013 Written by AMANDA LEE MYERS, Associated Press
CINCINNATI (AP) — An Ohio daycare worker pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of raping a baby after authorities investigating her boyfriend, a registered sex offender, say they found video of an assault on her computer — an allegation that she vehemently denies.
Heather Koon, 25, was arrested on two counts of rape Friday at her home in Oberlin, about 35 miles southwest of Cleveland.
The Lorain County Sheriff's Department began investigating her Thursday while they were checking up on her boyfriend, 34-year-old James Osborn, a registered sex offender on probation from his 2010 conviction of pandering child pornography.
Osborn was arrested for living in Koon's home while being registered at another address, a probation violation, and investigators obtained a search warrant that led them to a video on Koon's computer that shows her "engaging in sexual conduct with an unknown infant child," according to an investigative report.
Koon's attorney, Dan Wightman, said his client denies any involvement in the video.
"She says it is definitely not her," Wightman said. "She's a young girl, she's 25. I just don't think it is what they (sheriff's department) are saying it is."
He said Koon has no criminal record and already is being vilified despite the opportunity to prove her innocence. Her Facebook account, for instance, has been flooded with strangers making violent, profanity-laced comments about her.
Koon was being held on a $2 million bond and has a preliminary court hearing set for Oct. 15.
Osborn was being held without bond after police found images of child pornography on his phone. His attorney, Mike Duff, said that Osborn denies prosecutors' allegations that he took the images himself, saying he downloaded them.
He also denies knowing anything about the video found on Koon's laptop.
Osborn faces prison time if convicted of the probation violation. He avoided jail time in the case and instead was sentenced to five years of community control, which includes registering as a sex offender, paying fines and not using the Internet.
Koon worked at ABC Kidz Childcare in Elyria. Sheriff's investigators did not say in their report where any alleged abuse occurred and did not return calls for comment Monday.
Carlos Johnson, the facility's attorney, said that Koon worked there from August 2012 to April and passed background checks.
The facility is cooperating with the investigation and working to identify which children would have had contact with Koon while she worked there, he added.
The facility, which opened in 2011, has been cited repeatedly in the past year and a half for records and safety violations including failing to request the criminal records of two staff members, improperly storing medications, placing infants in unapproved sleep positions and allowing hazardous conditions, such as failing to anchor a television accessible to preschoolers, according to state records.
Records say all the violations were partially or fully addressed.