A serial rapist, who threatened his victims to remain silent sometimes for decades, was convicted Wednesday of rape, felonious assault and other charges.
Michael Todd Elliott, 49, currently in the Logan County Jail, faces sentencing at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 22 on 15 counts. He could be sentenced up to 11 years on each of five rape counts and 16 1/2 years on one count of rape as sentencing guidelines changed over the decades he abused women.
He also will be sentenced on felony charges of felonious assault, menacing by stalking, domestic violence, having weapons under disability and violating a protection order.
A Logan County Common Pleas jury heard testimony from six victims, investigators and an expert on victim manipulation over three days. Deliberations on 12 counts began around 5 p.m. and by 7 p.m. they had reached their verdicts.
Elliott had pleaded guilty that morning to three counts of violating a protection order so those charges were not presented to jury.
Assistant Logan County Prosecutor Alice Robinson-Bond led the state’s case and worked to identify a total of six additional victims after a 60-year-old woman came forward in August, 2020, with allegations that Elliott strangled her to the point of unconsciousness and raped her.
The most recent victim was, at first, consistent as she recounted the physical abuse and rape to medical professionals, Bellefontaine Police Department officers and investigators and prosecutors.
It led Robinson-Bond to look deeper into Elliott’s past which revealed other women who filed reports of menacing or obtained civil protection orders, citing threats of violence or mental distress.
She was able to locate victims dating back to 1996. All of the women recounted similar abuse — Elliott would strangle them to unconsciousness or physically abuse them and then rape them. He commonly told them worse would happen to them if they told authorities. He would extend the threats to family and children when possible.
Several lived with the abuse as cohabitants of Elliott’s home.
One victim went as far as to file a police report only to later say she lied after Elliott threatened her. That victim, Robinson-Bond said, was subsequently charged with falsification, convicted and spent three days in jail.
Of the six victims identified after the August, 2020, case came to light, five agreed to proceed with charges. Four of those involved a single charge of rape even though they had been strangled to unconsciousness.
Robinson-Bond said the statute of limitations to bring charges had run out on felonious assault but cases of rape can be pursued 26 years after the fact.
She then moved to prepare for the case and make sure the six victims were ready for trial. As the trial approach, Robinson-Bond learned the extent of the defendant’s manipulative nature.
Even though Elliott has been incarcerated for more than a year, he was convinced he could sway the most recent victim and through a series of messages, video conferences and telephone calls from the Logan County Jail, he convinced her the abuse and rape never happened. She testified as much during the trial, telling the jurors she must’ve been hallucinating due to a change in her medication.
Robinson-Bond countered and presented photographic evidence of the abuse; voice messages from Elliott; testimony of medical professionals; multiple witnesses who interviewed the victim; and the victim’s own words in the days and weeks after her initial report and in preliminary court hearings.
Robinson-Bond also brought in an expert on victim intimidation who testified about abusers using “gaslighting manipulation to convince victims the abuse didn’t happen.
“I had to tell the jury they need to decide who they believed more — (victim number 6) of August 2020 or now,” she said.
Robinson-Bond would not rule out that Elliott may have perpetuated even more attacks.
However, she believes the case shows rape victims can get justice even years after the attacks. She encourages victims to contact the prosecutor’s office at (937)599-7272; Bellefontaine police at (937)599-1010; the Logan County Sheriff’s Office at (937)592-5731.